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This edition is limited to Four Hundred 
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MORANG k CO., Limited 



Entered according to Act of the ParliaTuent of Canada 
in the year 1904-, hy Morang & Co., Limited, in the 
DepartTnent of Agriculture 


A MONG the men of action who are entitled to 
-^^^ be called makers of Canada, Sir Isaac Brock 
may well take a prominent place. He came to 
Canada in 1802, and gave ten years of his life to 
the country in which he was called to serve. Both 
in a civil and a military capacity he filled a post 
requii'ing unique qualities of head and heart. That 
the distinction he won was not ephemeral is proved 
by the honour in which his name is still held, 
although nearly a century has passed since he laid 
down his Hfe on Queenston Heights. 

England has been served well by her soldiers in 
many lands, and is not ungrateful to those who 
have built up her empire. At critical times in her 
history the right man has appeared on the scene 
possessing the force of character needed for special 
work. Such a man was Isaac Brock. He entered 
the Englijih army at the close of the eighteenth 
century, when the service was at its lowest ebb. 
Fortune placed him under the command of such 
enlightened men as Sir Ralph Abercromby and 
General Stewart, and the lessons he learned from 
them he afterwards put to good use. When, in 
1812, the long-smouldering enmity between the 
United States and England burst into the flame of 


war, and Canada was the battleground, he entered 
upon the defence of the country entrusted to his 
charge with an indomitable spirit. With very ineffi- 
cient means at his disposal, he used effectively what 
came to his hand. He took the untrained militia of 
Upper Canada and made of them a disciplined 
soldiery. He taught the youth of the country a 
lesson in courage and patriotism, and with infinite 
patience, tact, and judgment, he led them through 
their first days of trial. By his contemporaries Sir 
Isaac Brock was looked upon as the saviour of 
Canada, and time has not tarnished the lustre of 
his fame. 






IN CANADA ..... 33 






OLD QUEBEC ..... 89 

AFFAIRS IN EUROPE, 1808 . . . .99 



1811 IN CANADA AND EUROPE . . .449 

THE NEW GOVERNOR . . . .161 








DETROIT . . . .246 




INDEX ...... 317 




"Thou Guernsey! bravely crowned 
With rough embattled rocks , . . ." 

— Drayton. 

"Severe et douce." — Victor Hugo. 

' ' TN that corner of the old Norman land where 
J- live the little people of the sea, in that island 
of Guernsey, stern yet mild," Isaac Brock was born. 
It was a rough cradle, yet not an unkind one. 
Though for countless ages its shores have been 
beaten about and broken by Its relentless enemy 
the ocean, yet behind that bold and serried front 
lie peaceful glens and valleys carpeted with heather 
and gorse, and fair fields full of lovely ferns. Cruel 
reefs lie around the island — the terror of sailors, 
and out from the sea fog that hovers over them 
loom giant rocks, strange and grotesque shapes, 
into which the sea has hollowed many a cavern, 
haunted, as old legends tell, by the evil spirits of 
the deep. 

Guarded by those granite cliffs, apart from the 
world — for in the eighteenth century there was but 
little communication with either England or France 
— the simple folk of the island lived. The women 
were famed for their beauty, blue-eyed and rosy- 



cheeked, a combination of Saxon fairness and 
Norman freshness; the men were hardy, bold and 
daring, as became those who gained their hving in 
such a precarious way as sailors and fishermen and 
smugglers of the Channel Islands 

In addition to the fishermen and the sailors there 
were the country people who lived on and culti- 
vated their own estates, the largest of which did 
not exceed seventy -five English acres. Wheat was 
the principal crop, and dairy products the chief 
source of profit Beside the country people there 
lived in or near St. Peter's Port, the capital, an- 
other distinct set of inhabitants, who may be called 
the upper or governing class. To this class the 
family of Brock belonged. 

Guernsey contains about twenty-five square miles. 
Its shape is that of a right-angled triangle The 
sides face the south, the east, and the north-west, 
and are respectively about six and one-half, six, and 
nine miles long. The only town of importance and 
the seat of government is St. Peter's Port, situated 
on the slope of a hill about the middle of the more 
sheltered eastern coast South of the town rise the 
cliffs crowned by a strong fortress. At the entrance 
of the harbour is Castle Cornet, once a detached 
island fort, dating from Plantaganet days, after- 
wards the residence of the governors and also a 
prison.^ The appearance of the town on approaching 

1 Sir John de Lisle was appointed warden of Guernsey in 1406. He 
writes in 1406 from Castle Cornet, and says the castle is on the point of 



it by sea is imposing, but the streets are narrow, 
steep and crooked, and the houses, although sub- 
stantial, are dusky looking and old. The harbour of 
St. Peter's Port was begun by order of Edward I., 
and was in course of construction for two centuries. 
St. Peter's Church, a fine building of the fourteenth 
century, was consecrated in 1312. It was not until 
the sixth century that Christianity was introduced 
into the island by Sampson, Archbishop of St. 
David's, whose memory the small town of St. 
Sampson on the east coast still keeps green. Pre- 
vious to this Druidism had been the religion, and 
cromlechs and relics of that old system still remain. 
The Channel Islands were once included in the 
"Duchy of Normandie," and are the only parts of 
that duchy which remain to the English Crown. 
Again and again Guernsey has been unsuccess- 
fully attacked by the French, who, from the days 
of Edward I. to those of Edward VI., strove to 
subdue its Anglo-Norman inhabitants. Through 
the centuries they retained their northern love of 
independence, and Guernsey is still governed by its 
own laws and ancient institutions. It is divided 
into ten parishes, whose rectors, appointed by the 
Crown, sit in the elective states. The chief court 
of justice in the island is the royal court, whose 

falling, and ruinous throug-h default of the timber, and asks permission 
to take the timber from a house called, "The Priory of the Vale," to 
assist in repairing the castle, as he could procure no timber either from 
Normandy or Brittany, or any other port, on account of the war. 



power is very extensive and rather undefined. It 
consists of the baihff, appointed by the Crown, who 
presides, and twelve jurats appointed by the islan- 
ders through their delegates to the elective states. 
There is an appeal in certain cases to the king in 
council. The French language is used in the courts 
and on public occasions. The dialect of the people 
in the eighteenth century was still the pure Norman 
of many centuries before. Each parish had a school, 
but the principal one was Elizabeth College, origin- 
ally a grammar school founded by Queen Elizabeth, 
where Hebrew, Greek and Latin, French, German, 
Spanish, Italian, drawing, music, fencing, and drill- 
ing were taught for the modest sum of twelve 
pounds a year. 

Although wealth and luxury were almost un- 
known among them, the governing class in St. 
Peter's Port formed an extremely aristocratic and 
exclusive set, vying in dress, manners, and language 
with society of the same rank in England. Their 
children were frequently sent there to school, and 
as their sons grew up, commissions in the English 
army and navy were eagerly sought, and in many a 
hard-fought battle on land and sea, the men of 
Guernsey have won renown. It was not the gentler 
born alone that were trained to arms. By the law of 
the island, every male inhabitant between the age 
of sixteen and thirty-three was bound to render 
"man service to the Crown," and in the stormy 
days of the latter half of tlie eighteenth century 


and the beginning of the nineteenth, they were 
often called on to take their share in the king's wars. 

For generations the Brocks had lived in St. Peter's 
Port, and as Guernsey chronicles go back to leg- 
endary times, the story that they were descended 
from one Sir Hugh Brock who came there in 
the fourteenth century is perhaps a true one. 

It seems that in the reign of Edward III. an 
EngHsh knight of that name was keeper of the 
castle of Derval, in Brittany. When the French 
overran that country this castle was besieged by 
the Duke of Bourbon, the Earls of Alen9on and 
Perche, and a gallant array of the chivalry of 
France. Now Sir Hugh Brock's cousin, Sir Robert 
Knolles, who was governor of the duchy of Brit- 
tany, was also at that time besieged in Brest by the 
famous Bertrand du Guesclin. He succeeded in 
driving off his assailants, and then marched to the 
relief of his cousin. Sir Hugh, who was on the point 
of surrendering when the timely succour arrived. 
The Enghsh were, however, soon after driven out 
of France by the valiant du Gueschn, and as 
Guernsey hes directly between the coast of Brittany 
and England it is not improbable that this same Sir 
Hugh or some of his family settled there. 

Towards the close of the seventeenth century, 
one William Brock, of St. Peter's Port, had three 
sons and one daughter. The eldest son, William, 
married Judith de Beauvoir, also of an ancient 
Guernsey family. The third son, Henry, married 



Susan Saumarez, the sister of that vahant sailor, 
afterwards the celebrated Admiral Lord de Sau- 
marez. The second son, John, born on January 
24th, 1729, married in 1758 Elizabeth de Lisle,^ 
daughter of the bailiif of the island, whose an- 
cestor. Sir John de Lisle, had been governor of 
Guernsey in the reign of Henry IV. By her he 
had fourteen children, of whom ten lived to ma- 
turity. Isaac was the eighth son, and was born on 
October 6th, 1769,^ the year that also saw the birth 
of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1777 
the family was deprived of a father's care, for 
Mr. John Brock, formerly a midshipman in His 
Majesty's navy, died at Dinan in that year at the 
early age of forty-eight. His two eldest sons had 
already entered the army, John as an ensign in the 
8th (King's), Ferdinand in the 60th, that famous 
regiment once known as the Royal Americans, 
which was raised in the colonies in the time of the 
struggle with France, and which afterwards did 
such good service in the American war. These were 
strenuous times, and England was fighting in all 
parts of the world. 

In 1779, just two years after his father's death, 

* Her mother was Rebecca Carey. 

2 The house where the family lived and in which Isaac was 
probably born and certainly brought up, is a very fine granite one, 
which still remains, in the centre of the town of St. Peter's Port. It 
was bought by his fatlier, Jolin Brock, on July 29th, 1769, possession 
to be had at the ensuing Michaelmas Day, which fell a week before 
Isaac's birth. — From information given by Miss Henrietta Tupper. 



Ferdinand, a youth of nineteen, was killed at the 
defence of Baton Rouge, on the Mississippi. Isaac 
was then ten years old, a strong and lusty youth. 
At that age he was sent to school, for a short time 
to Southampton, and afterwards under the care of a 
French pastor in Rotterdam. While in Guernsey 
he attended Queen Elizabeth's school, where the 
Rev. C. Crispin was headmaster. But school life and 
academical distinction were not to be his portion. 
At the early age of fifteen he followed the example 
of his brothers, and on March 2nd, 1785, he ob- 
tained a commission, by purchase, in the 8th Regi- 
ment, in which his eldest brother had just purchased 
a captaincy, after ten years' service in America. 
Though young in years he even then showed proofs 
of that indomitable will which so distinguished him 
in after life. Feeling the defects of his education he 
determined to devote his leisure to study, and often 
the young ensign would, in spite of jeers, turn from 
his gay comrades to pass his time among his books, 
with his door locked to prevent intrusion. Not that 
he was by any means a prig, for, trained to athletic 
sports from his earliest years, Isaac Brock had the 
reputation of being the best boxer and the boldest 
swimmer among his competitors at school and on 
the island. 

When he entered the army it was at a time of 
peace, when England was recovering from her long 
and disastrous American war, and the French Re- 
volution with all its horrors had not yet convulsed 



Europe. It was well for the young soldier that 
peaceful garrison duty at home was his lot for a 
few years. There was plenty of work in store for 
him abroad. In 1790 he purchased his lieutenancy 
and for a time was quartered in Guernsey and the 
neighbouring island of Jersey. 

At the same time, though not in the same regi- 
ment, there was quartered with him Mr. Francis 
Gore, exactly of his own age, who had entered the 
army about the same time, and w^io was destined 
in after years to be associated with him in Canada. 

In 1791, having raised an independent company, 
Isaac Brock was gazetted as captain and exchanged 
into the 49th, then ordered on foreign service in 
the West Indies. He was now no longer a stripUng 
but a man of twenty-two, of commanding stature, 
very erect, of a strong athletic build, with a frank 
open countenance and very winning manners. 
Though of a very gentle disposition he yet pos- 
sessed that quickness of decision and firmness in 
peril which on many trying occasions during his 
military career proved most useful qualities. From 
1791 to 1793 he was quartered in Barbadoes and 

During those years, though still at peace, Eng- 
land had spent three millions in increasing her 
navy, and was, therefore, well prepared to hold her 
supreinacy on the sea. 

In 1793 the war that the great minister, Pitt, 
had vainly tried to avert, broke out, and from that 


time until the peace of Amiens in 1801, England 
was engaged in a desperate struggle with her heredit- 
ary foe led by the consummate genius of Napoleon.* 
On December 1st, 1793, the French Convention 
declared war on Great Britain and Holland. Pitt 
thought that the war would be brief, but he had 
miscalculated the power and resources of the enemy, 
and for more than seven years it raged without 

Service in the West Indies had proved disastrous 
to Brock, for he fell ill of a fever there which nearly 
cost him his life, and to which his young cousin suc- 
cumbed. Through this illness Brock was most ten- 
derly and skilfully nursed by his servant Dobson, 
who followed his fortunes and was his faithful friend 
throughout his life. On his recovery. Captain Brock 
was ordered home on sick leave, and the healing 
salt breezes of his native island soon restored him 
to health. In September, 1794, it was the intention 
of the royal court of Guernsey to raise a local regi- 
ment for the defence of the island and the majority 
in it was offered to Captain Brock, then on leave. 
He accepted conditionally, but the appointment 
which would have changed his whole career fell 

* It is reported in the " New Annual Register " of 1794 that Sheri- 
dan complained in the House of Commons of the manipulation in Eng- 
land of forged assignats, evidently done with the connivance of the 
government in order to embarrass the Directory, which had issued 
assignats to an enormous amount. These notes were sent to Guernsey, 
and forwarded gradually to Normandy and Brittany, where they were 
strewed on the shore and picked up as treasure trove by the peasantry. 



through, as the intention of the government was 
not carried out. 

He was then employed in the recruiting service 
in England, and on June 24th, 1795, he purchased 
a majority in his own regiment That year his 
mother died. Two years later, at the early age of 
twenty-eight, he became senior lieutenant-colonel 
of the 49th. His predecessor had been obliged to 
sell out on account of some mismanagement, and 
had left the regiment in a most disorganized state 
requiring a firm hand to bring it under control. 

The year 1797 was one of the most disastrous 
that England had ever experienced. Although in 
1795 the Cape of Good Hope and Ceylon had been 
added to the Enghsh Crown, the powers of Europe 
were now combining against her. Prussia, Sweden, 
and Spain had come to terms with the repubUe of 
France. Bonaparte had overrun the north of Italy, 
and in October, 1796, Spain had been forced to 
declare war against England. The Dutch, French 
and Spanish fleets formed a powerful armada for 
the invasion of England, while in Ireland the black 
flag of rebellion had been raised. There was dearth 
and famine and discontent at home, while generals 
and armies were uniformly unsuccessful abroad. 

Once again, though, as of old, the wooden walls 
of England proved her salvation By a brilUant vic- 
tory off* Cape St. Vincent on February 14th, 1797, 
Jervis and Nelson crushed the Spanish fleet and 
put a stop to the meditated invasion. Worse than 


attacks from the enemy abroad was the discontent 
that had crept into both the army and navy of 
England, and which broke out into open mutiny 
during this year. There were grievances, no doubt, 
for soldiers and sailors at that time were treated 
with the greatest severity. Recruited as the service 
was by means of the press gang, it was impossible 
to expect a high standard of conduct from those 
who were pressed from the prisons and the slums. 
It is rather to be wondered at that with such 
material England's navy did so well. 

It was in the month of April, 1797, that the crews 
of the Channel fleet rose in rebellion, and the dis- 
affection spread with extraordinary rapidity all over 
the world. At the Cape of Good Hope the squadron 
stationed there rose in revolt. In the West Indies, 
off Porto Rico, the crew of the Hermione, infuriated 
by the cruelty of their captain, killed all their offi- 
cers and deUvered the ship over to the Spaniards. 
At the mouth of the Texel, Admiral Duncan, who 
was blockading the coast of Holland, was deserted 
by all of his ships save two, and only by skilful 
manoeuvring succeeded in keeping the enemy in 
ignorance of his perilous position. 

The mutiny came at a time when England was 
pressed on all sides, and had the state of affairs 
been known by the French and the Dutch, irre- 
deemable disaster would probably have resulted. 
Even the army was affected. At Woolwich the 
artillerymen were insubordinate, and it was believed 



that secret agents of the French were at work 
corrupting the army. 

The 49th at that time was quartered on the 
banks of the Thames. As the privates of the regi- 
ment evidently sympathized with the mutineers, 
Brock kept a strict watch over the regiment, 
seldom going to bed before daylight, and always 
sleeping with loaded pistols beside him. During the 
day he frequently visited the barrack rooms to tear 
down or erase such inscriptions as, ** The Navy 

Fortunately for England, the blaze that threat- 
ened to break out in both services, died out in a 
few weeks. The courage, good sense and intrepidity 
of the officers in command soon restored order, and 
the glorious victory of Camperdown in October, 
when Admiral Duncan destroyed the Dutch fleet 
showed that the " mariners of England " had once 
more returned to duty. 

The young colonel of the 49th now devoted him- 
self to getting his unruly regiment into a good 
state of discipline. He proved most successful in 
the management of his men. ''Severe et douce" his 
stern yet mild rule won the commendation of the 
commander-in-chief, who declared that Lieutenant- 
Colonel Brock, from one of the worst, had made 
the 49th one of the best regiments in the service. 




ISAAC BROCK had now been thirteen years in 
the army, but, although his promotion had 
been rapid, he had as yet seen but Httle of active 
service. In 1798 his regiment was quartered in 
Jersey. In 1799 it was ordered to England to be in 
readiness to take part in an expedition against 
Holland, then occupied by the forces of the French 

It was at the breaking out of the war in 1793 
that the first expedition to that country had taken 
place under the command of the Duke of York. 
At that time England was in alliance with Austria, 
whose army was commanded by the Prince of 
Coburg. The campaign, which began auspiciously, 
ended most disastrously for the allies, and the army 
was only saved from utter destruction by the skill, 
energy and wisdom of General Abercromby who 
conducted the retreat. In spite of his former failure 
the Duke of York was again entrusted with the 
command in 1799. With him went also General, 
then Sir Ralph, Abercromby, who, in 1796, had 
won such triumphs for England in the West Indies 
by the capture of Grenada, Demerara, Essequibo, 
St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Trinidad. 



General Moore, who had also greatly distinguished 
himself at the capture of those islands, accompanied 
the expedition to Holland. England on this occasion 
had entered into an alliance with Russia who sent 
to Holland an army of sixteen thousand men. The 
objects of the expedition were to make a diversion 
in favour of the Russian general Suwarrow and the 
Archduke Charles of Austria, who were fighting 
the French in Italy and Switzerland, and to co- 
operate with the English fleet on the coast of Hol- 
land. Ostensibly England's purpose was to rescue 
Holland from the thraldom of France. 

Abercromby's division of ten thousand men set 
sail from England on August 13th, 1799, and with 
it went the 49th Regiment under the command of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Brock who was then just thirty 
years of age. After a stormy passage they landed 
near the Helder on the 27th of that month. A 
short engagement ensued, when the British troops 
compelled the enemy to retreat and Sir Ralph 
Abercromby took possession of the peninsula, en- 
trenched himself there, and occupied the evacuated 
batteries. When the Dutch fleet saw the entrench- 
ments of the Helder occupied by the English they 
slipped their cables and tried to escape, but were 
chased by the British fleet and compelled to 

The second division of the army, under the 
Duke of York, followed on September 9th, as soon 
as news was received of the successful landing of 


the first. It consisted of thirty battalions of infantry, 
five hundred cavalry and a train of artillery. The 
fleet remained at anchor off the coast of North 
Holland. It was certainly unfortunate, as results 
proved, that the chief command, by the arrival of 
the Duke of York, was taken from Sir Ralph 
Abercromby, for the position of the army on a 
hostile shore opposed by that skilful French gen- 
eral, Marshal Brune, required a leader of con- 
summate experience. Abercromby 's methods had 
inspired the troops under him with confidence, 
while, to say the least, the Duke of York had but 
an indifferent reputation as a commander. 

Isaac Brock was accompanied on this campaign 
by his younger brother Savery, who had entered 
the navy some time before as a midshipman but 
had been compelled to retire from that service on 
account of some breach of discipUne. He had 
volunteered for this expedition and had been 
allowed to join his brother's regiment as paymaster. 

The account of the landing and subsequent 
events is related by Brock in a letter to his 
brother John, who was then stationed at the Cape 
of Good Hope in command of the 31st Regiment. 
Brock says : — " After beating the seas from the 8th 
to the 27th of August we landed near the Helder. 
The fourth brigade was under General Moore and 
consisted of the Royals, 25th, 49th, 79th and 92nd. 
To our utter astonishment the enemy gave us no 
annoyance. On the contrary he evacuated the town 



which we took quiet possession of on the following 
morning. The next evening a reinforcement of five 
thousand men arrived, but could not land for two 
days, and in the meantime our troops lay exposed 
on the sand hills without the least shelter to cover 
them from the wind and rain. At length the army 
moved forward eleven miles and got into canton- 
ments along a canal extending the whole breadth 
of the country from the Zuyder Zee on the one side 
to the main ocean on the other, protected by an 
amazingly strong dyke running half a mile in front 
of the line." 

The army, by the arrival of sixteen thousand 
Russians, was now increased to thirty-five thous- 
and men, but these allies became rather a source 
of trouble than a help. Though brave, they were 
undisciplined, and in the advance on Bergen, on 
September 19th, after driving the enemy before 
them, they dispersed for plunder, whereupon the 
French rallied, and drove the disorganized Russians 
at the point of the bayonet before them, without 
giving them a chance to reform. At last they 
en counted a British brigade whom they blamed for 
not coming sooner to their support. The Russians 
had, unfortunately, been entrusted by the Duke of 
York with the principal attack, while Sir Ralph 
had been detached with ten thousand men to 
attack the town of Hoarn. October 2nd was fixed 
upon for a final assault on Bergen. In this, Aber- 
cromby led the right column along the sand to 


Egmont op Zee. He was successful, but by the 
failure of the other division the victory was of no 
avail in the final disaster that overtook the English 

In his letter to his brother, Brock, who was in 
Abercromby's column, describes the battle known 
as Egmont op Zee. He says : — " No commanding 
officer could have been more handsomely supported 
than I was on that day, ever glorious to the 49th. 
Poor Archer brought his company to the attack in 
a most soldier-like manner ; and even after he had 
received his mortal wound he animated his men, 
calling on them to go on to victory, to glory, and 
no order could have been more effectually obeyed. 
I got knocked down soon after the enemy began to 
retreat, but never quitted the field, and returned to 
my duty in less than half an hour." 

On this occasion Brock's life was saved, it is said, 
by his wearing, as the weather was cold, a stout 
cotton handkerchief over a thick, black silk cravat, 
both of which were perforated by the bullet. The 
violence of the blow was so great that it stunned 
and dismounted him. Another fellow-officer wound- 
ed at the same time was Lord Aylmer, afterwards 
governor-general of Canada. 

The letter continues: " Savery acted during the 
whole of this day as aide-de-camp either to Sir 
Ralph or to General Moore, and nothing could 
surpass his activity and gallantry. He had a horse 
shot under him, and had all this been in his line he 



must have been particularly noticed as he has 
become the astonishment of all who saw him. We 
remained that night and the following on the sand 
hills ; you cannot conceive our wretched state as it 
blew and rained nearly the whole time. Our men 
bore all this without grumbling, although they 
had nothing to eat but the biscuits they carried 
with them which were completely wet. We at 
length got into Egmont, and the following day, 
the 5th, into Alkmaar, where we enjoyed ourselves 

It is always with pride and affection that Isaac 
Brock speaks of his brother Savery, who resembled 
him much both in appearance and character. The 
offence for which this young midshipman had been 
dismissed from the navy was one occasioned by the 
goodness of his heart, for, indignant at the cruel 
punishment of mast-heading then prevalent, he had 
dared to sign a round robin asking for its discon- 
tinuance. Savery remained in his brother's regiment 
as paymaster for about six years and then volun- 
teered for Sir John Moore's expedition to Spain, 
where he acted as aide-de-camp to that general 
until his fall at Corunna. In the Peninsular epoch, 
to have been one of Sir John Moore's men carried 
with it a prestige quite sui generis, 

A sergeant of the 49th (Fitz Gibbon^) gives this 
tribute to the young paymaster's conduct during 
the battle of Egmont op Zee. He writes : — " After 

* Afterwards the distinguished Colonel Fitz Gibhon. 



the deployment of the 49th on the sand hills I saw 
no more of Lieutenant-Colonel Brock, being separ- 
ated from him with that part of the regiment under 
Lieutenant- Colonel SheafFe. Soon after, we com- 
menced firing on the enemy and at intervals rushing 
from one line of sand hills to another, behind which 
the soldiers were made to cover themselves and fire 
over their summits. I saw at some distance to my 
right, Savery Brock, the paymaster, directing and 
encouraging the men while passing from the top 
of one sand hill to another. He alone kept con- 
tinually on the tops of the hills during the firing, 
and at every advance from one range to another he 
led the men, and again was seen above all the 
others. Not doubting but that great numbers of 
French soldiers would be continually aiming at 
him — a large man thus exposed — I watched from 
moment to moment for about two hours expecting 
to see him fall, while in my view, he remained 
untouched. Being at this time only eighteen years 
of age, I did not venture to give any orders or 
instructions although a sergeant, but after witness- 
ing Savery Brock's conduct I determined to be the 
first to advance every time at the head of those 
around me. I made up my mind then to think no 
more, if possible, of my own life, but leave the care 
of it to Divine Providence and strain every nerve 
to do my duty. I make this statement to show that 
to the conduct of Savery Brock on that day I was 
indebted for this valuable example and lesson." 



As an instance that discretion is sometimes the 
better part of valour the narrator continues, "About 
five o'clock p.m., on the same day, while overheed- 
lessly running too far ahead of my men, I was 
cut off by some French soldiers who issued from 
behind a sand hill on my flank, and made me 
prisoner alone. After my return from prison in the 
January following I heard the soldiers repeat 
Colonel Brock's words to the paymaster when he 
first saw him among the men in action on that day, 
*By the Lord Harry, Master Savery, did not I 
order you, unless you remained with the general, 
to stay with your iron chest? Go back to it, sir, 
immediately,' to which he answered playfully, 
* Mind your regiment, Master Isaac, you would not 
have me quit the field now ?' " 

In the victory of Egmont op Zee several pieces 
of cannon, a great number of tumbrels, and a few 
hundred prisoners were taken, and the loss of the 
French was estimated at more than four thousand 
men. Unfortunately the success of the division led 
by Abercromby was more than counterbalanced by 
the disasters that befell the rest of the army. The 
Russians alone in this short campaign lost four 
thousand men and two of their generals were taken. 
The allies now were unable to advance or to draw 
any resources from the country, but had to obtain 
their supplies from the fleet. 

When the Duke of York first arrived in Holland 
he had issued a proclamation announcing that the 


invasion was undertaken to deliver the country 
from the servile yoke of France, and calling on all 
patriotic Dutchmen to rise in arms. This invitation 
had not been accepted. 

The Duke then assembled a council of war, and 
in spite of Abercromby's protest, it was decided 
that the allied forces should fall back and await 
orders from the British government. In the mean- 
while the English and Russian troops concentrated 
behind their entrenchments on the Zyp, where they 
were hard pressed by the enemy. As the season 
was so far advanced and winter made the naviga- 
tion of the coast more dangerous, the Duke was 
ordered to evacuate the country. He therefore sent 
a flag of truce to General Brune proposing a capitu- 
lation on the basis of an armistice or free embarka- 
tion of his army. The English restored their 
prisoners on condition of being allowed to sail 
immediately. This was agreed to at Alkmaar on 
October 18th, and thus ended this memorable 
expedition, which, in spite of individual bravery, 
reflected but little credit on British arms. One 
result of it was the withdrawal of Russia in anger 
from the alhance. That country had certainly been 
most unfortunate not only during the campaign, 
but afterwards. 

As foreign troops were not allowed in England 
and as it was too late in the season to send them 
home, the Russians were quartered in Jersey and 
Guernsey where a disease contracted in the marshy 



lands of Holland broke out and carried off great 

The 49th Regiment returned to England, and 
then was sent to Jersey. Lieutenant- Colonel Brock 
obtained leave of absence and spent some time at 
his home in Guernsey. His junior, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Sheaffe, was left in command, but for some 
reason or other incurred the dislike of the men. At 
the first regimental parade after Brock's return, the 
men as soon as they saw him gave him three cheers. 
For this breach of discipline their beloved colonel 
marched them into the barrack square, rebuked 
them for unmilitary conduct and confined them to 
barracks for a week. 




"Of Nelson and the North sing the day." 

— Campbell. 

EUROPE was now engaged in a death struggle 
with her great foe who was everywhere 
victorious. After the battle of Hohenlinden on 
December 3rd, 1800, Austria consented to peace 
with France, and England was left without an ally. 
Paul, the half-mad emperor of Russia, had quar- 
relled with her, partly on account of the ill-starred 
expedition to Holland, partly because she would 
not give up to him the island of Malta. Bonaparte, 
whose astute mind saw where advantage was to 
be gained, promoted the quarrel, and in order to 
gain the czar's friendship collected all the Russian 
prisoners in France, clothed them, supplied them 
with muskets and sent them back to Russia. This 
had the desired effect, and Paul, from an enemy, 
became for the time a devoted friend to France. 

As a first proof of his friendship he seized the 
English vessels in his harbours, his excuse being 
that England had sent a fleet to Copenhagen to 
oblige Denmark to acknowledge the navigation 
laws and the right of search of neutral vessels. 

In December, 1800, the Russian emperor con- 



eluded a coalition or alliance with Denmark and 
Sweden, to which Prussia afterwards acceded. In 
consequence of this step, England put an embargo 
on the vessels of the Baltic powers. 

Bonaparte now had visions of a greater empire 
beyond Europe, and secretly concerted with Russia 
for an expedition to India. In the meantime, he 
hoped by commercial embarrassment, by the weight 
of arms, and by the skilful management of the 
powers of Europe, to overthrow England, his last 
and greatest enemy. He had reckoned without 

In order to meet the dangers that threatened her 
on all sides, Great Britain brought together the 
most powerful fleet she could collect in the northern 
waters. There were eighteen sail of the line, besides 
frigates, bombs, fire ships, etc., amounting in all to 
fifty-three sail. On February 17th, 1801, Nelson re- 
ceived orders to place himself under the command 
of Sir Hyde Parker, and to prepare for an expedi- 
tion against the combined Danish and Russian 
fleets in the Baltic. It was Isaac Brock's good for- 
tune to assist in this memorable expedition, and 
he was placed second in command of the land 
forces engaged. 

Colonel, afterwards General, Sir William Stewart, 
second son of the Earl of Galloway, was in chief 
command of the marines on this occasion. It was 
another fortunate occurrence for Brock to be thus 
associated with one of the most progressive soldiers 


of the age. Colonel Stewart had served in the West 
Indies in command of the 67th Foot, and afterwards 
with the Austrian and Russian armies in the cam- 
paign of 1799. On account of what he saw there of 
the rifle shooting of the Croats and Tyrolese he 
organized a corps of riflemen in the British army, 
afterwards known as the Rifle Brigade. Colonel 
Stewart was much in advance of his times. He 
brought into the army modern methods such ^s 
lectures and schools for the men, classification in 
shooting, athletic exercises, and medals for good con- 
duct and valour. Nelson called him "the rising hope 
of our army." His brother, Charles James Stewart, 
was the well-known and beloved Bishop of Quebec. 

Colonel Brock embarked at Portsmouth with his 
own regiment of about seven hundred and sixty 
rank and file on board Nelson's squadron, and sailed 
to Yarmouth Roads, where they joined the fleet 
under Sir Hyde Parker. Nelson was anxious to pro- 
ceed at once before the Danes would have time to 
prepare for them, but there were many vexatious de- 
lays. It was March 20th before the fleet anchored in 
the Kattegat, eighteen miles from Elsinore, where 
the Sound narrows to three miles. The Russian 
navy was divided, part being at Cronstadt and part 
hemmed in by the ice at Revel. 

The British fleet advanced very deliberately, a 
frigate being sent ahead to land the British envoy, 
Mr. Vansittart, whose instructions were to allow 
the Danes forty-eight hours to accept the demands 



of Great Britain and withdraw from the coalition. 
This delay annoyed Nelson, who much preferred 
action to parley, and believed that delay only gave 
advantages to the defence. "A fleet of British ships 
are the best negotiators in Europe," he had written. 
"Strike quick and home," was his motto. On the 
23rd Vansittart returned with terms rejected, and 
brought a report that the batteries at Elsinore and 
Copenhagen were much stronger than they had 
been informed. So strong did Vansittart think the 
defences, that he said if the fleet proceeded to 
attack, it would be beaten. The numerous delays 
had given the Danes time to line the shoals and 
harbours with a formidable flotilla, and to stud the 
shores with batteries. 

The attempt to take the place was nearly given 
up by Sir Hyde Parker, but Nelson was determined 
to persevere, and prevailed upon his chief to adopt 
his plan of action. Twelve ships of the line were 
given to the daring admiral in addition to his 
smaller vessels — in all thirty-three ships, while the 
rest of the fleet remained to the north four miles 

It was on March 30th, 1801, that Nelson's squad- 
ron came to anchor between the island of Huen 
and Copenhagen. On the morning of April 2nd 
he shifted his flag from the St Gcoi'ge to the 
ElepJmnt, placed his ships in order of battle and 
gave the signal to advance. Then came a check. 
Two vessels, the Bellona and Russell, grounded, 


and although they could use their guns, they were 
too crippled to be of much use. Nelson's ship 
followed, and when he saw them ground and 
realized that he had lost their support he hailed the 
Ganges on which was the 49th Regiment and told it 
to keep as close as possible ahead of the Elephant. 
Colonel Brock was now ordered to lead the 49th in 
storming the principal battery in conjunction with 
five hundred seamen under Captain Freemantle of 
the Ganges, as soon as the fire of seventy guns 
should be silenced. 

The Danes made a heroic defence, and the plan 
of assault with small boats being impracticable, 
Brock and his men remained on board the Ganges. 
Savery Brock was with him, and while in the act of 
pointing one of the guns a grape shot tore his hat 
from his head and threw him on his back. " Poor 
Savery is killed," his brother exclaimed, but the 
apparently wounded youth jumped up, rubbed his 
head, and fired the gun as if nothing had happened. 
In the early part of the action, when it was ex- 
pected that the 49th would land to storm the 
batteries, Savery had announced his intention of 
going in the boat with his brother, who, knowing 
the hopeless character of the attempt to be made, 
insisted on his remaining on board, observing, "Is it 
not enough that one brother should be killed ? " 
The captain of the Ganges then gave Savery com- 
mand of the gun and his narrow escape put an end 
to the discussion, 



With crippled ships and mangled crews Nelson 
fought on in spite of the signal that came from 
Admiral Parker to leave off action.^ In heroic dis- 
obedience he still persevered until what might have 
been an overwhelming disaster turned to victory. 
When the heavy fire south of the three-crown 
battery had ceased, when most of the Danish 
vessels were helpless hulks, four of them remained 
through which the batteries and the British kept 
firing. The ships that had struck were resisting 
the attempts of the British to board them, and 
it was then that Nelson sent his famous message 
to the Crown Prince calling upon him to sur- 
render in the name of humanity. It was Brock's 
good fortune to be near the admiral when he wrote 
it, and the lesson he learned that day was one he 
remembered and acted on years afterwards when he 
had to send a similar message to a beleaguered foe. 
The message was : — " To the brothers of English- 
men, the Danes, — Lord Nelson has directions to 
spare Denmark when no longer resisting ; but if 
the firing is continued on the part of Denmark, 
Ijord Nelson will be obliged to set on fire all the 
floating batteries he has taken, without having the 
power of saving the brave Danes who have defended 
them. (Signed) Nelson and Bronte." 

* ^^Tien the signal came from Admiral Parker, Nelson said to his 
captain, ''You know Foley I have only one eye, I have a right to be 
blind sometimes," and then putting the glass to his blind eye he 
exclaimed, "I really do not see the signal." It was therefore not 
repeated from his vessel and the action went on. 



It was in the preparation and despatch of this 
note that Nelson gave another illustration, often 
quoted, of his cool consideration of all the circum- 
stances surrounding him, and of the pohtic regard 
for effect which he ever observed in his official in- 
tercourse with men. It was written by his own hand, 
a secretary copying as he wrote. When finished the 
original was put into an envelope, which the secre- 
tary was about to seal with a wafer, but this Nelson 
would not permit, directing that taper and wax 
should be brought. The messenger sent for these 
was killed. When this was reported to the admiral, 
his only reply was, " Send another messenger " ; 
and he waited until the wax came and then saw 
that particular care was exercised to make a full 
and perfect impression of the seal which bore his 
own arms. Colonel Stewart said to him, " May I 
take the liberty of asking why, under so hot a fire, 
and after so lamentable an accident, you have 
attached so much importance to a circumstance so 
trifling ? " Nelson replied, " Had I made use of the 
wafer, it would still have been wet when presented 
to the Crown Prince ; he would have inferred that 
the letter was sent off in a hurry, and that we had 
some very pressing reasons for being in a hurry. 
The wax told no tales. "^ 

A verbal message by his principal aide-de-camp 
was sent back by the Crown Prince asking the 
particular object of sending the flag of truce, to 

* " Life of Nelson," Mahan. 



which Nelson replied, " Lord Nelson's object in 
sending on shore a flag of truce is humanity ; he 
therefore consents that hostilities shall cease till 
Lord Nelson can take his prisoners out of the 
prizes, and he consents to land all the wounded 
Danes, and to burn or remove his prizes." By this 
time the Crown Prince had sent orders to the 
batteries to cease firing, so the battle ended, and 
both sides hoisted flags of truce. 

It was acknowledged by Nelson that his ships 
had suffered more than in any other battle he had 
ever fought. His success, however, was complete. 
Niebuhr, the Danish historian, wrote, " We cannot 
deny it, we are quite beaten," As to the importance 
of the victory, by it the great coalition of the 
northern powers was broken and Bonaparte once 
more was foiled in his great game. 

Unknown to the combatants at the time, how- 
ever, was the death of the chief supporter of the 
coalition — the Czar Paul. On the night of March 
24th he had been murdered, and his young son 
Alexander reigned in his stead. This news did not 
reach Copenhagen until after the armistice was 

In October of the same year preliminaries of 
peace were entered into in London, and on March 
27th, 1802, at Amiens, Great Britain, on the one 
part, and France, Spain, and Holland on the other, 
concluded a treaty of peace. The Marquis Corn- 
wallis was the plenipotentiary for England and 


Joseph Bonaparte for France. By this treaty France 
agreed to evacuate Naples and the states of the 
church ; England on her side gave up all her 
conquests during the war to the powers to which 
they had formerly belonged, excepting the islands 
of Trinidad and Ceylon. Egypt was restored to 
Turkey, the Cape of Good Hope to Holland, and it 
was promised that within three months the English 
should evacuate Malta, which was to be given back, 
under certain conditions, to the Knights of St. John. 
After the victory of Copenhagen, when the 49th 
returned to England, it was stationed for a time at 
Colchester, and in the spring of 1802 was ordered 
to Canada where it was destined to remain many 



Regarde, me disait mon pere 
Ce drapeau vaillamment porte ; 
II a fait tou pays prospere 
Et respecte ta liberte. 

Un jour, notre banniere auguste 
Devant lui dut se repHer ; 
Mais alors, s'il nous fut injuste, 
II a su le faire oublier. 

Et si maintenant son pli vibre 
A nos remparts jadis gaulois, 
C'est au moins sur un peuple libre 
Qui n'a rien perdu de ses droits. 

Oublions les jours de tempetes. 
Et, mon enfant, puisqu' aujourd'hui 
Ce drapeau flotte sur nos tetes, 
II faut s'incliner devant lui. 

"Le Drapeau Anglais." — Frechette. 

IT was early in the spring of 1802 that Isaac 
Brock with the 49th Regiment sailed up the 
St. Lawrence after a long and stormy journey 
across the Atlantic. One can well imagine the 
feelings of the young colonel as he gazed for the 
first time at the rocky height of Quebec crowned 
by that fortress, once the stronghold of French rule 
in America. In the forty years that had passed 
since the conquest, Quebec had changed but little. 



There before him rose the craggy steep where 
Wolfe had climbed to victory. The grey wall, 
pierced with arched gateways and bristling with 
guns, still enclosed the town. On one side stood 
out the great cathedral whose bell had rung its 
summons for more than a century, regardless of the 
change of earthly monarchs. Here, too, was the 
Ursuline Convent to which Montcalm had been 
carried in his death agony. Above on the clifF rose 
the old, half-ruined Chateau St. Louis, bearing the 
traces of destruction by shot and shell. All spoke to 
Brock of stirring deeds which even then could be 
recounted by those who had taken part in them. 
He was fresh from fighting the French in the 
Old World, and the scene of England's triumph 
might well rekindle the ardour that a year's peace 
had not extinguished. Did a premonition come to 
him that on another height in this new land, 
he too would find fame and death ? Perhaps not, 
for Brock was not given to much dreaming. He 
only knew that there was work to be done and 
as an apt pupil from the school of Nelson and 
Abercromby he was ready to do it in the best way 

When Brock arrived in Canada the administra- 
tion of affairs there was in the hands of Sir Robert 
Shore Milnes, the lieutenant-governor. Sir Robert 
Prescott, who had been governor and commander- 
in-chief from 1797, in succession to Lord Dor- 
chester, had left Canada in 1799, and although he 


held his rank as governor until 1807, he never re- 
turned to service in the country. 

Canada had been fortunate in the men entrusted 
with her government, and owing to their wise ad- 
ministration there had been very little discontent 
among the new subjects of His Majesty. The French 
Canadians had increased and prospered under British 
rule. First in the roll of governors stands James 
Murray, that good and true soldier who saved 
Quebec for England in the stormy year that fol- 
lowed Wolfe's death, when the Marquis de Levis 
brought all his consummate genius to the task of 
winning it back for France. While the army of 
Vaudreuil held the river at Montreal, and when 
it looked for many a weary month as if Amherst 
would never come to its relief, the half-starved, 
sickly but gallant garrison at Quebec struggled 
through the terrible winter of 1759 and 1760. The 
story cannot be told too often of how Murray kept 
up the courage of his men, and cared also for the 
feeble folk who were left with him in the town; 
how, when spring came, both French and English 
watched the river for the coming sails, well knowing 
that the side to which food and arms came first 
would win the day; how, when it was the English 
ships that came, de Levis' army melted away and 
Murray marched to join with Amherst at Montreal; 
and how Vaudreuil and his abler lieutenant laid 
dov^Ti their arms, and the reign of France in the 
New World was over. 



General Murray remained as governor until 1767, 
when he was succeeded by Sir Guy Carleton, 
that gallant soldier and statesman, whose life reads 
like a romance, and who, with but a slight inter- 
mission was to rule the country until 1796. It was 
he who led the grenadiers in 1759 on the Plains of 
Abraham and was wounded just before his general 
sank in death. It was he who, in 1775, as governor 
and commander-in-chief, drove back from Quebec 
the American invaders led by Montgomery and 
Arnold, and who, in spite of traitors around him 
and a people half sullen, half apathetic, encouraged 
the remnant to fight for their country and British 
rule. It was he who pleaded the cause of the old 
inhabitants before a committee of the English par- 
liament. He understood the difficulties to be met 
with in the government of Canada when the popu- 
lation was so preponderatingly French, and he 
helped to draw up the Quebec Act of 1774, which 
gave to these new subjects the liberties and privi- 
leges that in time made them loyal to England. 
Even the English population (there were but two 
thousand, to a hundred thousand French) were a 
little sulky, and inclined to think that too much 
had been granted to the Gallo-Canadians, but time 
has proved the wisdom of the act. No wonder that 
Carleton was welcomed by priest and peasant when 
he returned as Lord Dorchester in 1792! It was 
Carleton, too, who, when the arrival of the United 
Empire Loyahsts had increased the number of 


English-speaking citizens, saw the difficulties under 
which they laboured, and revised the act of 1791, 
which gave to Upper Canada the laws it required. 
Between his two administrations, General Haldi- 
mand had been governor from 1778 to 1786. He 
too had been a gallant soldier, and had fought in 
the old French war in America, as well as on many 
a field in Europe. He was Swiss French by birth, 
and, speaking their language and understanding 
their customs, he was well fitted to be the governor 
of a French population. His administration was 
held under trying circumstances, during those dark 
days for England when her armies were waging an 
unsuccessful campaign in the neighbouring colonies, 
and when her prestige had fallen in the New World. 
Haldimand succeeded, however, in steering a very 
safe course through a stormy sea, and when he 
handed the government over to Lord Dorchester 
he left behind him many wise improvements that 
he had made in the condition of the country. Stern 
as his rule had been, this testimony has been paid 
him by Garneau, the French Canadian historian: 
"Good intents are recognizable on his part, through 
much of what he did, his chief aim really being to 
preserve Canada as a British dependency. It was he 
who recommended the conservation of the territory 
situated between the St. Lawrence and the United 
States frontiers, and caused Lord Sydney, contrary 
to the mind of Lord North, to adopt, in 1784, the 
right view of this matter. Now that we retrospec- 



tively view Haldimand's leaden t5rranny without 
prejudice, now that we discern what was his master 
thought, few of us, perhaps, will refuse to pardon 
him for his rough but honest absolutism, out of 
regard for his efforts to preserve intact a portion of 
the soil reclaimed by aliens, which had been gained 
to civilization by our ancestors." After Lord Dor- 
chester came Sir Robert Prescott, who was the 
titular governor when Brock arrived in 1802. 

In England at this time Addington had suc- 
ceeded Pitt as prime minister, and had concluded a 
delusive peace with the first consul, who had now 
taken upon himself the title of president of the 
Italian republic. In America, Jefferson had been 
elected president and Madison had been appointed 
his secretary of state. Both of these men were 
hostile to England and friendly to France. 

Peace in Europe had made Bonaparte turn his 
attention to another quarter of the world. In 1801, 
Spain, by treaty, had handed back to France the 
immense territory of Louisiana, which had been 
ceded to Spain by France in 1763. It stretched 
from the Rio del Norte on the south to the boun- 
daries of Canada on the north. The great dictator 
now dreamed of restoring the old colonial power of 
France in America. What would be easier than to 
send an army by the Mississippi and Ohio to reach, 
by that route. Lake Erie and the Niagara peninsula, 
while a fleet might ascend the St. Lawrence, where 
he fondly imagined the French population would 


easily be seduced from their allegiance to Great 
Britain ? The first step he took in the scheme was to 
plan an expedition to occupy the island of St. 
Domingo, which he intended to make a rendezvous 
for the French navy. The story of this expedition 
is an interesting one, and as it has a bearing on the 
events that happened afterwards in Canada, it may 
be as well to glance at it. 

The eastern part of the island of St. Domingo 
belonged to France, the western to Spain. Before 
the French Revolution it contained a population of 
six hundred thousand, over half a miUion being black 
slaves, while French planters and officials, with their 
families, numbered about fifty thousand, and mu- 
lattoes made up the remainder. The trade with it 
was very extensive. Its combined exports and im- 
ports were valued at one hundred and forty million 
dollars, while seven hundred ocean vessels with 
eighty thousand seamen were employed in the 
coffee, sugar, and indigo trade between France and 
the West Indies. After the revolution the white 
population remained royalist, while the mulattoes 
were republican. This involved the island in civil 
war, which led to a general rising of the negroes and 
a massacre of the whites in 1791. Slavery was then 
abolished in the French part by order of the na- 
tional assembly. Then Spain attempted the con- 
quest of the whole of the island, but the Spaniards 
were defeated and driven out of the country. Tous- 
saint L'Ouverture, the grandson of a negro chief, 



joined the forces of the French repubhc, and 
obtained the rank of general in 1708. He was a 
man of the Napoleon type, never resting, of bound- 
less ambition and energy, and possessing also the 
same love of display — "The gilded African," as the 
first consul called him, while others named him "The 
Bonaparte of the Antilles." 

In 1800, L'Ouverture assumed the title of gover- 
nor, and took possession of all the French territory 
ceded by Spain to France in the Treaty of Basel of 
1795. He then declared it an independent repubhc. 
Bonaparte now determined to send an expedition 
there under the command of his brother-in-law, 
General Le Clerc, to subdue the insurgents. It 
sailed in November, 1801, from Brest, and landed 
in St. Domingo in January, 1802. At first Le Clerc 
met with some success, though at an immense 
cost of men, but the island remained unconquered. 
Toussaint L'Ouverture took to the mountains and 
carried on a guerilla warfare, most harassing to the 
French troops. At last, by a stratagem, the rebel 
leader was seized and carried off to France, where 
he was imprisoned in the fortress of Joux in the 
Jura Mountains, and soon succumbed to the cold of 
the climate. 

In the island, however, things went from bad 
to worse for the French. Fifty thousand troops 
had been sacrificed either in action or from the 
effects of the climate, and vast sums of money 
had been squandered. Plantations had ceased to 


be cultivated and anarchy ruled. In 1802 Le 
Clerc wrote that only four thousand men out of 
twenty-eight thousand were fit for duty. More 
men and money were needed. General Le Clerc 
died of fever in January, 1803, and Rochambeau 
was sent out, but met with no better luck than 
his predecessor. He demanded thirty -five thousand 
more men to get the French out of their predica- 
ment. At this time there was a feeling against 
France in congress because Le Clerc had seized 
supplies belonging to American traders, and there- 
fore America was not looking quite so kindly on 
the occupation of Louisiana by the French. Bona- 
parte had intended to send twenty thousand men 
there, but the demands of St. Domingo made this 
impossible. The United States had now begun to 
feel the need of obtaining possession of the mouths 
of the Mississippi, so as to have freedom of com- 
merce by that river to supply the needs of Ohio 
and Kentucky. Spain had given American traders 
the right to land produce at New Orleans, but 
suddenly revoked the permission, and now Jeffer- 
son was determined to acquire that place for the 
United States. Monroe was therefore sent to France 
early in 1803 as a special envoy to negotiate for its 
transfer. His instructions were, in case of failure, to 
propose an alliance with England, so that the end 
might be gained. It was also proposed by Jefferson 
that the United States should obtain possession of 
Louisiana by purchase, and should grant commercial 



privileges to Great Britain. Monroe was very well 
received in London. The prime minister agreed that 
it would be well for the United States to obtain 
Louisiana, but if this were not possible they should 
prevent it from going to France. In the preceding 
year the United States had been quite content that 
France should occupy Louisiana, if only West 
Florida could be added to the repubhc. However, 
the question was soon settled by Bonaparte. He 
had become disgusted with his expedition to St. 
Domingo, and his fruitless outlay there of men and 
money. He could not afford to lose prestige in 
Europe, and he wanted to cover up the disasters 
that had overtaken him in the West Indies. He 
therefore suddenly determined to give up his plans 
in America and to sell his right to Louisiana to the 
United States. He then made a definite offer for 
the sale to Livingstone, the American minister in 
Paris. Livingstone replied that the United States 
did not want the country west of the Mississippi, 
but simply Florida and New Orleans. Negotiations, 
however, went on, and were completed on the 
arrival in Paris of Monroe. The price asked was one 
hundred millions of francs. This was not accepted, 
but finally the price was fixed at sixty millions, 
equal to about eleven million two hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars. Florida was not included in the 
purchase. The United States also agreed to meet 
the claims for damages at St. Domingo made by 
American merchants, amounting to about three 


millions in addition. Spain protested vainly against 
the sale, for on ceding the territory to France the 
stipulation had been that it should not be alien- 
ated. Livingstone strenuously endeavoured to have 
Florida included in the bargain but failed, though 
the first consul promised his support towards ob- 
taining it for the republic. 

The acquisition of Louisiana changed the whole 
attitude of the United States towards Great Britain,^ 
as now they would not require her assistance to 
secure the mouth of the Mississippi and the Flor- 
idas. From this time President Jefferson showed a 
spirit of animosity in his dealing with England. 

The short-hved peace of Amiens was drawing to 
a close. In order to cover up his disasters Bonaparte 
resolved to renew hostilities in Europe. As an 
excuse he declared that he would not tolerate the 
British occupation of Malta. England had refused 
to give it up without a guarantee from the powers 
that it would be left in possession of the Knights of 
St. John. At a meeting of the corps legislatif on 
February 20th, 1803, these words were used: "The 
French government says with pride that England 
alone cannot struggle against France." This arro- 
gant statement of course aroused the British lion, 
and on March 8th, George III sent a message to 
the House of Parliament, then assembled, that 
owing to the military preparations of the French 
he had judged it necessary to take precautions for 

1 See "History of Canada," Kingsford, Vol. VIII. 



the safety of his kingdom. On May 16th, 1803, 
England declared war, a war that was destined to 
last more that twelve years, and to tax to the 
utmost the resources of the country. 




THE year 1802 was a critical time in Canada, 
and so it was felt to be by the few who were 
there to guard it. If Bonaparte had succeeded in 
his plans on the American continent, and had 
occupied Louisiana with an army of twenty thou- 
sand men, Canada would probably have been im- 
mediately the scene of war between Great Britain 
and France. Another enemy, however, was nearer 
her borders, although ten years passed before 
hostilities broke out. 

When Brock arrived, Sir Robert Shore Milnes, 
formerly governor of the island of Martinique, was 
the lieutenant-governor residing at Quebec. He 
was not of military rank, so in the absence of Sir 
Robert Prescott, then in England, General Hunter, 
the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, was com- 
mander-in-chief of the forces in Canada. The latter 
was stationed at York (Toronto) which was, there- 
fore, at that time headquarters. The population of 
Lower Canada in 1801 is given as 160,000. In 
Haldimand's census of 1784 it was 110,837 of 
which 108,000 were French Canadians. The towns 
of Quebec and Montreal were given as containing 
each about six thousand inhabitants, of which the 



proportion of French to English was two to one. 
In country parishes the proportion was forty to one. 
These were ahnost exclusively French ; for the 
families of the EngUsh soldiers, who after the con- 
quest remained in Canada and married French 
Canadian wives, had taken the religion and lan- 
guage of the mothers, and were French in all 
but in name. 

Quebec in the early days of the century remained, 
as formerly, the centre of society and civilization in 
Canada. It had then about twelve thousand inhabi- 
tants, of whom half were English, including the 
garrison. The government officials were exclusively 
English, and, if report be true, formed a rather 
arrogant and supercilious set. The French residents 
of the upper class, whose very names smacked of 
the old regime, were still as gay and brilliant as 
when Frontenac and de Vaudreuil reigned in the 
Chateau St. Louis. A glance at a subscription list 
of 1799 for a patriotic fund to send to England 
in aid of the expenses of her great war with France, 
shows, however, that the two races, French and 
English, dwelt together in amity. Mingled with the 
names of Sewell, Forsyth, Molson, Osgoode, Pow- 
nell and Coffin are those of Taschereau, de Boucher- 
ville, de Lotbiniere, de Levis and de Salaberry. The 
sum of eight thousand pounds was raised and the con- 
tributions came, not only from Quebec and Mont- 
real, but from the parishes of Trois Rivieres and 
Sorel. Another proof of the good feeling towards 


England that existed at the time on the part of the 
French inhabitants was that Nelson's victory of the 
Nile was celebrated by a solemn mass, and by a 
Te Deum which was chanted in the parish churches 
by order of the bishop. His mandement was : — 
"Messieurs les cures ne manqueront pas de prendre 
occasion de cette fete pour faire sentir vivement 
a leurs paroissiens les obligations qu'ils ont au ciel 
de les avoir mis sous I'empire et la protection de sa 
majesty brittannique, et les exhorter tout de nouv- 
eau a s'y maintenir avec fidelite et reconnaissance."^ 

Throughout the most trying days of the adminis- 
tration of Carleton and Haldimand, the priests and 
the seigneurs had remained faithful to British rule. 
It is probable that the former recognized that under 
it their church was more likely to hold its an- 
cient privileges than under the sway of the new 

The administration of Sir Robert Milnes was not 
favourable to the continuance of this friendly feel- 
ing. He always distrusted the French Canadians 
and advised that the militia should be disbanded 
because, he said, it was not proper to arm and train 
the people of a conquered province. He possibly 
saw through the eyes of his private secretary, 
Ryland, an able but prejudiced man who had a 

1 Translation. — "The curds will not fail to take the opportunity 
afforded by this festival to make their parishioners realize the obliga- 
tions they owe to heaven for having placed them under the empire and 
protection of His Brittanic Majesty, and to exhort them anew to 
maintain themselves in it with fidelity and gratitude." 



most pronounced aversion to French Canadians and 
Roman Catholics. 

Colonel Brock was not long allowed to enjoy the 
society and comparative comfort of Quebec. His 
regiment was ordered to the Upper Province where 
the greater part of it was stationed at Fort George 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Sheaffe, while he himself 
remained at headquarters in York. 

The long journey from Quebec was accomplished 
by water, for although a road had been cut in 1799 
from the Bay of Quinte, near Kingston, to York, 
and although in 1803 there was a passable highway 
from Quebec to Sandwich, a distance of eight hun- 
dred miles, yet transport by water was much easier. 
No steamboat had as yet been launched on the 
St. Lawrence and even the large Durham boat was 
unknown, but the bateau, about eighteen or twenty 
feet long and six feet wide, was in general use. 
It was capable of carrying about three tons. In 
ascending the St. Lawi-ence there were many rapids 
to pass and portages were long and difficult. To 
avoid these. Governor Haldimand, in 1784, had 
designed and built small canals, the first on the 
American continent, and the forerunners of those 
magnificent canals which have done so much for 
the development of Canada. When the river was 
passed, schooners from Kingston conveyed freight 
and passengers by Lake Ontario to York and 

In Upper Canada there were at this time, 1803, 


about forty thousand new settlers, for, in addition 
to the United Empire Loyalists, reckoned in 1791 
at ten thousand, there had been an emigration from 
the north of Scotland and Ireland and also from 
the United States, the latter being chiefly of Dutch 
farmers and Quakers from Pennsylvania. The num- 
ber of regular troops in Lower Canada was a little 
over two thousand, in Upper Canada about six 
hundred, scattered at various posts along the fron- 
tier. The settlements in the Lower Province were 
on the banks of the St. Lavn-ence and its tributary 
streams. In Upper Canada there were small ham- 
lets on the shores of Lake Ontario, of which King- 
ston, York and Niagara were the principal, and 
military training-posts at great distances apart on 
Lakes Erie and Huron. Trappers, hunters and 
wandering tribes of Indians roamed through the 
vast forests that lay beyond. 

So scanty was the population of Upper Canada, 
and so unknown its capabilities, that there had 
been many protests against the division of the 
country into Upper and Lower Provinces. The 
English residents of Lower Canada wished rather 
for the total repeal of the Quebec Act of 1774 and 
the retention of the old boundaries, and sent Adam 
Lymburner, a merchant of Quebec, to represent 
them in 1791, before a committee of the House of 
Commons. In his argument he said there was no 
reason for the division of the province, as Niagara 
must be the limit of Upper Canada. The country 



beyond, he represented, could not be of importance 
for settlement as the falls of Niagara would be an 
insurmountable barrier to the transportation of the 
produce of the land. Burke, in parliament, speak- 
ing against the passage of the act, had declaimed 
against settlement in "the bleak and barren regions 
of Canada." 

In the ten years that followed this protest, 
despite Lymburner's prophecy, trade had much 
increased on the lakes, and had even found its way 
west of Lake Erie. Merchandise was brought from 
Albany by the Mohawk River, Oneida Lake and 
the Onondaga River to Oswego, and then shipped 
on schooners for Prescott, York and Niagara. There 
were ports of entry at Cornwall, Johnstone (Brock- 
ville), Amherstburg and Sandwich. York, the infant 
capital of the province, was, in 1803, much smaller 
than Newark, or Niagara, the former seat of govern- 
ment. In 1793 there was on its site one solitary 
Indian wigwam, and although in ten years the 
solitary wigwam had multiplied into many frame 
and log dwellings of the rudest description, there 
were as yet no public buildings of any kind. Lieu- 
tenant-Governor Hunter represented to the gov- 
ernment in England that the executive had to meet 
in a room in the clerk of the council's house, and 
the only place for the meetings of the assembly 
was a room in a building originally designed as a 
residence for the governor. The courts of law also 
held their sittings there. The governor asked for 


eighty thousand pounds for the purpose of erecting 
suitable quarters for the legislature, for various 
public offices and for courts of law. He represented 
also that contributions from England had been given 
to erect a Protestant cathedral at Quebec, while 
the inhabitants of York had subscribed amongst 
themselves for a church. 

Lieutenant-Governor Hunter, who was in com- 
mand when Brock arrived at York, was a Scotsman 
of whom but little is known except that he had been 
governor of Barbadoes. There are few records of 
his administration, and he is but a shadowy figure 
in the annals of the time. He seems to have lived, 
as government house was occupied for offices, in 
the barracks, which were about two miles west of 
the town. These barracks consisted of a wooden 
blockhouse, and some cottages of the same material, 
little better than temporary huts. Another block- 
house was at the eastern end of the town, and 
between were jutting points of land clothed with 
spreading oak trees. The harbour was considered 
the safest on Lake Ontario. The long peninsula 
that enclosed the beautiful bay was fringed with 
trees, whose reflection in the placid waters was said 
to have been the origin of the Indian name Toronto. 
The wild grape vine threw its tendrils around them, 
and in their shade were refreshing springs of water. 
Wild fowl made its sandy beaches and reedy marshes 
their home, so that it was a very paradise for sports- 
men. There were salmon in the lake and in the rivers 



that flowed into it, and game of all kinds abounded 
in the neighbourhood. A road that had been cut 
through the wilderness north of the town by the 
orders of Governor Simcoe, led to Cook's Bay, 
Lake Simcoe, which was thirty-seven miles distant, 
and by that lake there was water communication 
of seventy miles north to Matchedash Bay on Lake 
Huron. Another military highway west of the town 
led to Coote's Paradise (Hamilton) and thence to 
New London on the Thames, thus opening up an 
inland way to Lake Erie. Settlers were slowly 
hewing out homes for themselves in these remote 




IT was in the year 1796 that England had given 
up possession to the Americans of Forts Mich- 
ihmackinac, Miami, Detroit, Niagara, and Oswego, 
and now at the beginning of the nineteenth cen- 
tury Kingston, York, Fort George, Fort Chippawa, 
Fort Erie, and Amherstburg were the chief miU- 
tary posts. The very names of the forts take one 
back to very stirring days in the country, and a 
glance at their history shows that this new province 
of Upper Canada had been once the scene of many 
a struggle for supremacy between the French, the 
English, and the Indian. 

Michilimackinac, or Mackinaw, the island which 
lies in the strait between Lakes Huron and Michi- 
gan, had been for more than a century the resort 
of North-West traders, where furs were collected 
and shipped for Montreal. In 1671 it had been a 
Jesuit mission, and stories of treachery and mas- 
sacre hover round its shores. 

Fort Miami was in the heart of the Indian 
country on the Maumee River about fifteen miles 
from Lake Erie, into which the river flows. Lord 
Dorchester had ordered the reconstruction of the 
fort, a step to which the United States had ob- 



jected, deeming it an invasion of their territory. 
Both the 8th and the 53rd Regiments had been 
stationed there during the war with the colonies. 

Fort Detroit, on the river of the same name, 
situated about twenty-eight miles above Lake Erie 
and ten miles below Lake St. Clair, had had a most 
exciting history. The strait was the key to the 
upper lakes, and gave Canada the readiest access to 
the Mississippi. Five times its flag had changed in 
the century since it was founded by La Mothe 
Cadillac. Twice it was besieged by Indians, once 
burned to the ground. In the last days of the 
eighteenth century it was surrounded by a flourish- 
ing little town, with a mixed French and English 

Fort Niagara, like Detroit, had also been the 
scene of many a conflict when France and England, 
with varying fortunes, had struggled for its posses- 
sion. It was in 1678 that La Salle, La Mothe, and 
Father Hennepin, saihng up Lake Ontario from 
Fort Frontenac, found, at the entrance of what 
was afterwards known as the Niagara River, a 
small village of Seneca Indians. Here they built a 
stockade of palisaded storehouses, and dedicated it 
by chanting a Te Deum, and placing within it a 
large wooden cross. This stockade was burnt in 
1680, and afterwards rebuilt of stone by Denon- 
ville. It was designed to be large enough to hold a 
garrison of five hundred men. This fort was aban- 
doned in 1687, and of the hundred men left there 


by Denonville, all but ten perished by disease or in 
conflict with the Indians. Charlevoix, the priestly 
historian, mentions a blockhouse being on the site 
in 1721, and that in 1726 it was the quarters of 
some French officers, who strengthened it by add- 
ing four bastions. In 1749 it was rebuilt as one of 
the chain of forts designed to surround the French 
domain as far as the Gulf of Mexico. In 1759, after 
an obstinate siege, the fort capitulated to General 
Johnson. One of the English officers. General Lee, 
writing at that time to a friend in New York, gives a 
glowing description of the fort and its surroundings. 
He ends his letter thus: "I am afraid you will 
think I am growing romantic, therefore shall only 
say it is such a paradise and such an acquisition to 
our nation that I would not sacrifice it to redeem 
the dominion of any one electoral province of Ger- 
many from the hands of the enemy." In 1763 a 
dreadful massacre took place, near the fort, of an 
English regiment that fell into an ambuscade of the 
Indians while marching alongside the river Nia- 
gara to Fort Schlosser, above the falls. Only a few 
escaped to tell the tale, and the spot has since been 
known as the Devil's Hole. In 1764 peace was 
made with the Indians, who, to the number of two 
thousand, met Sir William Johnson at the fort, and 
agreed to give up to the British four miles on each 
side of the river from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. 
In 1783, after the American war, this fort was sur- 
rendered by treaty by the British, but on account 



of unsettled claims of the United Empire I^oyalists, 
whose property had been confiscated, possession 
was not given up until 1796, when Fort George 
on the western side of the river received its flag, 
garrison, guns and stores. 

Fort Oswego, on Lake Ontario, almost opposite 
Kingston, had also been the centre of many a 
bloody struggle in the eighteenth century, when 
the French with their Indian allies battled for its 
possession, knowing well that to the victor be- 
longed the command of the lake. 

Of the military posts left to the British in 1803, 
Kingston was the largest and most populous of the 
Upper Province. It was founded in 1784 on the 
site of old Fort Frontenac, and was the main 
entrepot between Montreal and the settlements 
along the lakes. It was three hundred and seventy- 
five miles from Quebec, one hundred and ninety- 
five from Montreal, and one hundred and fifty-three 
from York. Governor Simcoe had designed to 
make the latter a fortified shipping town, but this 
had been vetoed by Lord Dorchester who preferred 
Kingston for this purpose. 

Fort George was on the west bank of the river 
Niagara, about a mile from its entrance into Lake 
Ontario. It was, in 1803, a low square fort with 
earthen ramparts and palisades of cedar. It con- 
tained very badly planned loop-holed barracks of 
logs, and mounted no heavier metal than nine 
pounders. Newark, or Niagara, for it resumed its 


old name in 1798, by act of parliament, was the 
village near by, and had enjoyed for a brief period 
the distinction of being the capital of the Upper 
Province. It lay directly opposite Fort Niagara 
where the river is eight hundred and seventy-five 
yards wide. 

Here the first parliament of Upper Canada met 
in 1792, and to add to the glory of the occasion 
we are told that a guard of the 26th Cameronians, 
then stationed at Fort Niagara, was brought across 
the river to escort Governor Simcoe in state to the 
opening. Five sessions were held here before the 
seat of government was removed to York, and dur- 
ing the last years of the eighteenth century Newark 
was, next to Kingston, the most flourishing place 
in Upper Canada. It was here at Navy Hall that 
Governor Simcoe and his wife dispensed their gra- 
cious hospitality. Among their distinguished guests 
were the Duke of Kent, who rode from their house 
to see the famous falls of Niagara, and the Duke de 
Rochefoucauld de Liancourt, who wrote a lengthy 
account of his visit. 

The 5th Regiment and part of the 26th Cam- 
eronians were then stationed at Fort Niagara, and 
Butler's Rangers and the Queen's Rangers occupied 
the barracks at Newark. 

The first newspaper in the country, the Upper 
Canada Gazette, was published here, and there was 
a public library and a court-house and churches 
(St. Mark's and St. Andrew's) long before York, 



its rival and supplanter across the lake, was pro- 
vided with any pubHc buildings. It was Governor 
Simcoe who planned Fort George and gave to it 
its first rough outlines. In 1803 there was a light- 
house on Mississaga Point, at the entrance of the 
river near where a fort of that name was after- 
wards constructed. A dockyard where many work- 
men were employed, was one of the industries of 
the place, and here was built and launched in 1792 
the first Canadian merchant vessel. 

It was in 1783 that there landed on the beach 
the first band of Loyalist refugees who left their 
homes in the revolted colonies for the sake of king 
and country, and who were to be the founders of a 
new nation in this wilderness. For more that two 
years rations were issued to the poor wanderers from 
Fort Niagara and Butler's barracks, but by the 
beginning of the new century the thriving farms in 
the neighbourhood of Newark showed that the 
"hungry years " had passed. 

Seven miles higher up the river was Queenston, 
a transport post which had, in 1803, grown to be a 
village of over a hundred houses with church and 
court-house and government stores for the Indian 
department. All the goods for the North- West 
were landed here from the vessels which brought 
them from Kingston, and were then sent by portage 
above the falls to Chippawa. 

Fort Chippawa, on Lake Erie, a mile and a half 
above the falls of Niagara, was the end of the carry- 


ing place, and was also a transport post. It was 
sixteen miles from Fort George and it had a block- 
house and quarters for one officer and thirty-six 
men, enclosed with palisades which were much 
decayed and useless for defence. Eighteen miles 
up the lake was Fort Erie. General Hunter, in 1803, 
had planned a new fort at this place as the old one 
was in ruins, and had made a report on the subject 
to Lord Hobart, the secretary of the colonies, but 
this undertaking was not carried out for some years. 

Further west at Amherstburg was another poorly 
constructed fort. This village was the only British 
naval station on Lake Erie, and contained over a 
hundred houses, with a court-house, and stores for 
the Indian department. 

The other military post in this district was Sand- 
wich, nearly opposite Detroit, and sixteen miles 
distant from Amherstburg. There was a mixed 
French and Enghsh population here, and many 
American settlers in the neighbourhood who had 
found their way to this lovely and fertile peninsula 
— the garden of Canada. 

At this time a regiment quartered in Upper 
Canada was divided into several parts, sometimes 
hundreds of miles asunder. The posts being on the 
frontier line, and new roads into the interior of the 
United States being constantly opened out, every 
facility was afforded for desertion. The pay of the 
British soldier was small, the discipline enforced at 
that time very severe, and by the insidious work of 



agents from the neighbouring repubUc, desertions 
became very frequent. 

Soon after Brock's arrival in Upper Canada, six 
men of a company of the 49th stationed at York, 
listened to the tempting proposals held out to them, 
and with a corporal of the 41st who had been left 
there in charge of some work, set off across the 
lake for Niagara. The news of their desertion was 
brought to Colonel Brock at midnight by the ser- 
geant of the guard. With the promptness that al- 
ways marked his actions he immediately ordered a 
boat to be manned by a sergeant and twelve privates 
of the light company, and with them he started on 
a night journey across Lake Ontario, a distance of 
thirty miles. 

After a hard pull of eight hours they reached 
their destination and a search along the shore was 
made. A few miles from Fort Niagara on the 
American shore, the renegades were found. They 
were brought back to York and afterwards con- 
fined in the prison cells at Fort George. General 
Hunter found fault with the midnight expedition 
across the lake, as he thought the risk Brock had 
taken in crossing in a small open boat was too 
great. It was not, however, likely that a Guernsey 
man, inured to the perils of the coast of the 
Channel Islands, would hesitate to cross Lake On- 
tario on a summer night. Even if the dangers had 
been greater, Colonel Brock was not one to shirk 
his duty. 


Once again he was called upon to undertake 
another expedition to enforce discipline, and again 
the strong arm and cool brain were needed. This 
time it was not desertion alone he had to cope with, 
but a very serious mutiny among the troops quar- 
tered at Fort George, under the command of 
Lieutenant- Colonel Sheaffe, who, by his severe 
discipline had rendered himself very unpopular. 
The plan of the mutineers, as was afterwards dis- 
covered, was to place the officers in the cells, then 
to march to Queenston and cross the river into 
the state of New York. It was said too that the 
murder of Colonel SheafFe was contemplated. The 
discovery of the plot was accidental. A servant of 
an officer of the Royal Artillery was met on the 
common by a soldier of the 49th, named Fitz- 
patrick, who asked him the hour. On being told 
Fitzpatrick exclaimed, " Thank God, I will not be 
too late for roll call ; if I were that tyrant would 
give me knapsack drill for a week, but — " with an 
oath he muttered some threatening words and ran 
off to the fort. The servant reported the con- 
versation to his master who immediately told 
Colonel Sheaffe. Fitzpatrick was sent for and 
questioned. On examination he showed such symp- 
toms of guilt that he was put in a cell in the guard- 
room. Another soldier named Daly confessed to the 
conspiracy, and said that he had entered into it by 
the persuasion of Sergeant Clarke of the 49th who 
had told him that he and his wife and children 



would be much more comfortable in the United 
States than in the regiment. 

SheafFe sent immediate word of the conspiracy 
to Colonel Brock, who was then at York. The 
latter lost no time in hastening to the scene. 
The mutiny of the Nore in 1796 had taught him 
that promptness and decision were necessary to 
prevent an appalling disaster. This was no time 
for half measures, when the mother country was at 
war in Europe, and when a wily neighbour was 
undermining the allegiance of His Majesty's forces 
in America. Stern and quick must be the remedy. 
The vessel that brought him the news took him 
quickly over the lake, and, unannounced, he landed 
on the beach below the town and walked to the 
fort. The sentry on duty soon recognized the com- 
manding figure of the colonel and called out the 
guard, which was commanded, as it happened, by 
the very sergeant who had been suspected as the 
instigator of the conspiracy. It was all the work of 
a few moments. As the guard shouldered arms the 
sergeant was ordered to come forward and lay down 
his pike, and to take off his sword and sash. As soon 
as this was done a corporal named O'Brien was told 
to bring a pair of handcuffs and put them on the 
sergeant who was then marched off to the cells. 
Then came the corporal's turn, for he too was one 
of those implicated, and in obedience to the stern 
command his arms and accoutrements were also 
laid down, and a soldier was ordered to handcuff 


him and convey him also to the cells. Brock then 
sent a young officer to arrest the other malcontents. 
Twelve men in all were put in irons and sent off to 
York together with the seven deserters who had 
been arrested some weeks before. 

General Hunter directed that their trial should 
take place at Quebec. They were found guilty 
and four of the mutineers and three of the deserters 
were condemned to be shot. The extreme rigour of 
their commanding officer, Colonel Sheaffis, was the 
only plea they made in extenuation of their crime. 
The sentence was carried out on March 2nd, 1804, 
at Quebec. The unfortunate men declared pubHcly 
that had they continued under the command of 
Colonel Brock they would have escaped their mel- 
ancholy end. 

At York, when the letter came announcing the 
execution, the colonel ordered every man under 
arms, that he might read to them its contents. He 
then addressed them and said : — "Since I have had 
the honour to wear the British uniform I have 
never felt grief like this. It pains me to the heart 
to think that any member of my regiment should 
have engaged in a conspiracy which has led to their 
being shot like so many dogs. . . " We are told that 
the soldiers who saw the ghstening tear and heard 
the faltering voice of their colonel were so moved 
by the touching scene that there was not a dry eye 
among them. 

After this melancholy affair Brock assumed com- 



mand at Fort George, and all complaints and 
desertions instantly ceased. He put into practice 
the more humane methods of treating the com- 
mon soldier that he had learned in the school 
of Abercromby and Stewart. The men were al- 
lowed, under proper restrictions, to visit the town 
freely. It was no longer a crime to fish in fatigue 
dress, and even the sport of shooting the wild 
pigeons that were in such abundance was allowed, 
with the proviso that the men should provide their 
own powder and shot. Under Colonel SheafFe's dis- 
cipline the four black holes were always full, but 
now under a milder rule complaints were unknown. 

The mutiny, however, had made such an impres- 
sion on Colonel Brock that he sought a remedy for 
the evils that had occasioned it, and his ideas on 
the subject were embodied in a report which he 
subsequently sent to the Duke of York. 

During the long winter months of 1803-4 at Fort 
George he had the opportunity of visiting many of 
the new settlers in the country. He found that with- 
out any special merit, they had obtained large grants 
of land, although some of them had even taken 
part against England in the revolutionary war. Land 
at that time was of so little value that on condition 
of settling, any person, by paying a fee of sixpence 
an acre, could obtain a grant of two hundred acres. 

In order to improve the prospects of soldiers in 
Canada, Brock, in his report, recommended the 
establishment of a corps of veterans, who would by 


long and faithful service be deserving of the most 
liberal protection and favour. The men, he thought, 
might be selected in the first instance from veteran 
corps already established, and afterwards they might 
be selected impartially from every regiment in the 
service. Every year men v^^ere discharged who could 
with propriety be recommended for this corps. Ten 
companies, each of sixty rank and file with the 
usual proportion of officers, might be distributed at 
St. Johns, Chambly, Kingston, York, Fort George 
and its dependencies, Amherstburg and St. Joseph. 
Colonel Brock gave a scale of the number of years 
each soldier should serve in the veteran battaUon 
proportionate to his length of former service. On 
their discharge he suggested that the men should 
be located on a large tract of land on the river 
Credit (west of York) which had been purchased 
by Lieutenant-Governor Hunter from the Missis- 
saga Indians. He also recommended that they 
should be furnished with implements of husbandry 
and rations for a short period. He concluded with 
these words : — " I have considered the subject only 
in a military point of view ; the advantages arising 
from the introduction of a number of men into the 
country attached to government by ties of interest 
and gratitude and already acquainted with the use 
of arms, are too obvious in a political light to need 
any comment. It is highly gratifying to observe the 
comfortable state of the Loyalists, who, in the year 
1784, obtained small tracts of land in Upper Canada. 



Their conduct and principles form a striking con- 
trast to those practised and professed generally by 
the settlers of 1793." 

There is no doubt that Colonel Brock was right 
in his estimate of the character of some of the 
recent settlers in Upper Canada. They had come, 
not as Loyalists because they wished to live under 
the English flag, but because of the easy terms on 
which they could obtain grants of land. They were 
still at heart citizens of the United States, and 
openly sympathized with that country. They formed 
a rather troublesome element in the beginning of 
the war of 1812, but were gradually weeded out in 
the struggle that " tried men's hearts." 

It was not only in theory that Brock endeavoured 
to ameliorate the condition of the soldier. He was 
ever ready with advice and assistance to those 
under him. One instance may be given in his treat- 
ment of Fitz Gibbon, the young sergeant-major of 
the 49th, in whom he took much interest, and who 
said he owed everything to him. He tells the story 
that when stationed at York in 1803, Colonel 
Brock told him he intended to recommend him for 
the adjutancy of the regiment, and said: "I not 
only desire to procure a commission for you, but I 
also wish that you should qualify yourself to take 
your position among gentlemen. Here are my 
books; make good use of them." He often wrote, 
he said, to the colonel's dictation, and thereby 
learnt much that was useful to him in after life. 


Another reminiscence of the sergeant-major gives 
a trait of Brock's character that was predominant 
throughout his career. One day he asked Fitz Gibbon 
why he had not carried out some order, and re- 
ceived for answer that it was impossible to execute 
it. "By the Lord Harry, sir," said the colonel in 
wrath, "do not tell me it is impossible. Nothing 
should be impossible to a soldier; the word 'impos- 
sible' should not be found in a soldier's dictionary." 

Some time after, at Quebec, when the sergeant- 
major was an ensign, he was ordered to take a 
fatigue party to the bateau guard, and bring round to 
the Lower Town twenty bateaux to embark troops 
for Montreal. The tide had fallen and there were 
two hundred yards of mud over which it looked 
impossible to drag the bateauoc, which were large, 
heavy, flat boats. He thought he would return, but 
it suddenly occurred to him that the colonel would 
ask: "Did you try?" He therefore gave the word, 
"Front!" and said to the soldiers: "I think it im- 
possible for us to put these bateaux afloat, but you 
know it will not do for me to tell Colonel Brock so, 
unless we try it. Let us therefore try. There are the 
boats. I am sure if it be possible for men to put 
them afloat you will do it. Go at them." In half an 
hour the work was done. Thus the indomitable 
spirit of the commander was infused into the men 
who served under him. 




IN 1805 Brock was again quartered in Quebec. 
In August of that year, General Hunter, the 
acting lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada and 
commander-in-chief was taken iU and died at 
Quebec, just after the departure on leave of Sir 
Robert Milnes. His death placed both provinces in 
a peculiar position. There was neither a governor, 
commander-in-chief, nor lieutenant-governor in the 
Canadas. Nor was there a chief justice, for Chief 
Justice Elmsley, who had succeeded Osgoode at 
Quebec, had died rather suddenly, while Chief 
Justice Cochrane, who had taken the former's place 
in Upper Canada, had been drowned with the 
sohcitor-general and other members of the court by 
the foundering of the Speedy in Lake Ontario. 
The country was therefore deprived of almost all 
its leading officials. To meet the emergency Colonel 
Bowes of the 6th Regiment, as senior officer, had 
assumed the military authority and Mr. Thomas 
Dunn, president of the council, had been appointed 
civil administrator on the departure of Sir Robert 
Milnes. In Upper Canada, Mr. Peter Russell, senior 
councillor, called a meeting of the legislative coun- 
cil, and Mr. Alexander Grant, better known as 



Commodore Grant, was chosen acting lieutenant- 
governor. Alexander Grant was a native of Inver- 
ness, Scotland, and had served in Amherst's army, 
under whom he had been appointed to command a 
small fleet on Lake Erie. His home was at Grosse 
Point, above Detroit. 

In October, 1805, Lieutenant- Colonel Brock was 
made a full colonel and shortly afterwards returned 
to England on leave. While there he seized the 
opportunity to lay before the Duke of York, then 
commander-in-chief, the scheme he had drawn up 
for the improvement of the army in Canada. The 
report was favourably received and some of its 
recommendations were afterwards carried out. 

During the absence of Brock in Canada, some 
changes had come to his family. His eldest brother 
John, the brev^et lieutenant-colonel of the 81st, and 
a soldier of great promise, had been killed in 1801 
in a duel at the Cape of Good Hope. The second 
brother had long before been killed in service at 
Baton Rouge, on the Mississippi. The third brother, 
Daniel de Lisle, was now a very important man in 
Guernsey. In 1795 he had been elected a jurat of 
the royal court and had been sent as its representa- 
tive to London in connection with the trade and 
certain ancient privileges of the island. He was 
afterwards for many years lieutenant-bailifF or chief 
magistrate of Guernsey. The next brother, William, 
was a merchant residing in London and engaged in 
trade with the Baltic. He was married but had no 


children, and had taken the keenest interest in his 
brother Isaac's career, advancing the money when 
it was required for his various steps. Savery Brock, 
younger than Isaac, was the one whose exploits 
have been already related. Irving, the next brother, 
had literary tastes, was a clever translator, and a 
writer of pamphlets, some of which were of great 
merit. The two sisters were both married. Elizabeth 
to John E. Tupper, of Guernsey; Mary to Thomas 
Potenger, of Compton, Berkshire. Isaac Brock 
was tenderly devoted to his family as his many 
letters show, and his sojourn once more among 
them filled his heart with joy. 

The years 1804-5 had been eventful ones in 
Europe. In May, 1804, the first consul had been 
made by "the grace of God and the constitution of 
the republic," emperor of the French, and hence- 
forth dropped the name of Bonaparte for that of 
Napoleon. He was crowned on December 2nd 
at Paris by the Pope, and afterwards at Milan as 
king of Italy. In England Pitt was once more 
at the helm as prime minister. 

During the summer of 1805 Napoleon had as- 
sembled a large force on the shores of the English 
Channel with a flotilla at Boulogne, and had given 
to this force the significant name of the " Army of 
England." The invasion of that country and the 
plunder of London were confidently talked of 
among his soldiers. 

Austria was in vain remonstrating against his 



occupation of Italy, while the czar of Russia and 
Gustavus of Sweden were also protesting against 
his encroachments on the territory of the weaker 
powers. A new coalition was now formed against 
him of England, Russia, Austria and Sweden. 
Prussia remained neutral. General Mack, who had 
shown his incapacity in 1798, was unfortunately 
placed at the head of the Austrian army, while 
the more capable Archduke Charles commanded in 
Italy where General Massena led the French army. 
With one of those sudden coups for which he was 
famous, Napoleon withdrew his "Army of England" 
to march to the Rhine and ordered other troops from 
Holland, France and Hanover to meet them there. 
This formed what was called the "Grand Army," 
commanded in person by the emperor. No coalition 
was able to withstand his victorious progress. 

But England held the sea. On October 17th, 
1805, General Mack was surrounded at Ulm, and 
surrendered with two hundred thousand men. The 
French entered Vienna on November 15th. The 
Russian army under the Emperor Alexander in 
person had assembled in Moravia. Being joined by 
some Austrian divisions it amounted to about 
eighty thousand men. Then came the great battle 
of Austerlitz on December 2nd. Both armies were 
about equal in numbers but the Russians extended 
their line too much. The slaughter among the allies 
was terrific and thousands were drowned trying to 
cross the half frozen lakes in the rear. 


"Roll up the map of Europe," said the dying 
Pitt, when he heard of these disasters, " it will not 
be wanted these ten years." After his crushing 
defeat the czar had an interview with Napoleon 
when an armistice was agreed upon and the Rus- 
sians were allowed to return to their own country. 
On December 27th peace was signed between 
Austria and France, the former giving up Dalmatia 
and the Venetian provinces to Italy. 

While these events were occurring in Europe 
the feeling in the United States against England 
was becoming more and more bitter. The news 
from America was so threatening that Colonel 
Brock, who was in Guernsey, determined to go 
back to Canada before the expiration of his leave. 
He left London, never to return, on June 26th, 
1806, and sailed from Cork in the Lady SaumareZy 
a Guernsey vessel well manned and armed as a 
letter of marque bound to Quebec. His sister wrote 
on the 27th, "Isaac left town last evening for 
Milford Haven. Dear fellow ; Heaven knows when 
we shall see him again !" 

At the time of Brock's second arrival in Canada 
the civil government of the Lower Province was still 
administered by President Dunn,^ but as Colonel 
Bowes of the 6th Regiment had given up his com- 
mand in order to go on active service in Europe, 
Colonel Brock succeeded to the command of the 

1 Dunn used the title of president in virtue of his position in the 
council. He was at this time acting governor. 



troops in both provinces. Eight companies of the 
49th were at this time quartered in Quebec under 
the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Sheaffe.^ The 
latter had learned a lesson from the melancholy 
affair of the mutiny at Fort George, and Colonel 
Brock reported on the good order and discipline 
that prevailed in the garrison. 

Besides the 49th there was quartered in Quebec 
part of the 100th Regiment, consisting then nearly 
altogether of raw recruits. The men were mostly 
Protestants from the North of Ireland, robust, 
active and good looking, and Brock reported that 
the order and discipHne of so young a corps was 
remarkable. They were under the command of 
Lieutenant-Colonel IMurray. A temble disaster had 
overtaken the regiment the year before. On its way 
to Quebec on October 21st, 1805 (the day that the 
battle of Trafalgar was fought) it was wrecked off 
the coast of Newfoundland. Major Bertram, three 
captains, six lieutenants, the assistant surgeon and 
about two hundred men perished. Part of the 100th 
was now quartered in Montreal under Major Ham- 
ilton. The 41st Regiment was scattered throughout 
Upper Canada at Kingston, Fort George, Am- 
herstburg and St. Joseph. Lieutenant-Colonel Proc- 
ter commanded at Fort George. 

* A contemporary said of Lieutenant-Colonel SheafFe : — " He was 
kind; benevolent and religious, but these sentiments were, in his early 
days, nearly, if not entirely overruled by his extreme ideas of military 



The first thing that occupied Colonel Brock's at- 
tention in his new position as commander-in-chief was 
the repair of the fortifications of Quebec. Something 
had been done to restore them in Sir Guy Carleton's 
time, and again during the administration of Sir 
Robert Prescott, but the walls on the western side 
were old and decayed, and not in a condition to 
stand a heavy fire. Hospital accommodation was also 
needed, and Brock wrote at once to the secretary 
of the colonies, the Rt. Hon. Sir W. Wyndham, 
representing that the sick had to be placed in hired 
houses of the most miserable description, unfitted 
to keep out the cold of winter or the heat of 
summer. Brock advised the construction of a hos- 
pital to cost about three thousand pounds. The 
quarters then occupied by the various offices of 
government, both civil and military, were an exten- 
sive building on the opposite side of the square 
to that on which stood the old and dilapidated 
Chateau St. Louis. The part used by the governors 
as a residence contained a suite of apartments 
wherein balls and entertainments were given. The 
building was of very plain exterior, and formed 
part of the curtain that ran between the two 
exterior bastions of the old fortress which covered 
about four acres of ground. South-west of the 
Chateau was an excellent and well-stocked garden ; 
for, cold as the winters were, the hot summers 
ripened quickly all sorts of fruits and vegetables. 
The monastery of the Jesuits near by had been 



turned into barracks and was a spacious stone 
building three stories high. It had been in former 
years surrounded by large and beautiful gardens. 
The bishop's palace, too, had been taken over by 
the government, and was used as offices for the 
legislative council, the executive council, and the 
House of Assembly. The latter met in what was 
once the chapel, a room sixty-five feet long by 
thirty-six feet wide. Forty acres around Cape 
Diamond were reserved for military use. A house, 
once the residence of Chief Justice Elmsley, had 
been converted into barracks for officers. During 
the winter of 1806, Brock occupied himself with 
plans for the fortification of Quebec, and a great 
deal of correspondence took place on the subject 
between him and the acting governor, Mr. Dunn. 
He represented to the latter that the reserves of the 
Crown were being encroached upon by the inhabi- 
tants, and that a great portion of the ground in 
question would be required for the erection of new 
and extensive works. He referred particularly to 
the enclosures and buildings on the glacis in front 
of St. John's Gate, and said that if these encroach- 
ments were permitted, it might at some future day 
endanger the safety of the place. 

A long correspondence also took place about a 
piece of vacant land that was needed as a parade 
ground for the troops, of which there were then 
about a thousand in garrison. The ground in ques- 
tion was the garden of the Jesuits adjoining the 


barracks, and had been seized by the Crown on the 
death of Father Cazot, the last of the order in 
Canada. It was a standing grievance with the 
French Canadians that this property had been 
appropriated by the government. The correspond- 
ence between President Dunn and Colonel Brock 
was rather a heated one, and the latter laid the case 
before the authorities in England. He tells the 
story of how he had asked permission of the presi- 
dent to use this vacant ground for drilling the 
troops, and how he had cleared it of weeds on the 
understanding that the president, although he could 
not officially allow it to be converted into a parade 
ground, would shut his eyes and not interfere. The 
troops had paraded there and at first no notice was 
taken, but a few days afterwards a letter was re- 
ceived from the acting governor, expressing his dis- 
approbation of the proceedings, and denying that 
he had given his tacit consent to the measure. 
It was one of the not unusual differences of opinion 
between the civil and military authorities. Mr. 
Dunn had lived for a long time among the in- 
habitants of the country, and had to consider 
their prejudices. 

Brock had his own way, however, for a few years 
later a writer mentions these once beautiful gardens 
as a place for the exercise of the troops, and laments 
the fall of the stately trees that from the foundation 
of the city had been the original tenants of the 



At this time, 1807, Mr. Francis Gore was lieu- 
tenant-governor of Upper Canada. H'e had entered 
the 44th Regiment as an ensign in 1787 when 
eighteen years of age, and had been quartered as a 
subaltern with Isaac Brock, both in Jersey and 
Guernsey. Fate had once more thrown them to- 
gether. After the peace of Amiens in 1802, Gore 
had retired from the army, but when hostilities had 
broken out again he was appointed inspecting field 
officer of volunteers with the rank of lieutenant- 
colonel. He succeeded so well in his new position 
that Pitt made him governor of Bermuda, and from 
that post he succeeded General Hunter as lieu- 
tenant-governor of Upper Canada. He did not, 
however, supersede Colonel Brock as commander- 
in-chief, and military returns were sent from the 
Upper Province to Quebec during the winter by 
Indians hired for this purpose. Sometimes it took 
months for communications between the two pro- 
vinces. There was also some correspondence about 
Indian affairs, and Colonel Brock announced that 
although his predecessor, Colonel Bowes, had given 
directions about the management of Indians in 
Upper Canada, he intended himself to follow His 
Majesty's instructions of 1796, and leave the sole 
control of Indian affairs in that province to the 

As soon as Colonel Brock assumed command of 
the troops he found it necessary to look into the 
accounts of the deputy commissary-general. They 


were in great confusion, a sum of thirty-six thou- 
sand three hundred and fifty pounds sterHng not 
being accounted for. The commissary when called 
upon to explain the large deficit objected to the 
rank of Colonel Brock, and wrote that he did not 
think any authority then in Canada was competent 
to give orders by which his duties and responsi- 
bilities under the instructions of the lords commis- 
sioners of His Majesty's treasury could be in any 
manner altered. Colonel Brock looked upon his 
position as commander-in-chief in a different light, 
and replied: — "In respect to the last paragraph 
of your letter, relating to the two characters (the 
president of Lower, and the lieutenant-governor 
of Upper Canada), whom you consider as more 
competent than myself to exercise authority, it 
will be time to investigate the question when either 
of them shall express a wish to assume the com- 
mand, but in the meantime I shall exercise it with 
promptitude and decision." 

There certainly was need for an enquiry, for it 
was found that no examination had been made in 
the stores account since 1788, nor in the fuel ac- 
count since 1796. The enquiry resulted in the 
retirement of the officer in charge, who was found 
to be insolvent. Colonel Brock was most careful 
and precise himself in money affairs, and required 
all those under him to be rigidly correct in the 
expenditure of the public money. 

He writes in January, 1807, to Colonel Glasgow, 



president of the board of accounts: — "I have to 
request the board to continue diligently to ascertain 
the sufficiency of every authority for expenditure 

before it sanctions the smallest charge When 

expense is incurred without the most urgent cause, 
and more particularly when large sums are stated 
to have been expended in anticipation of services 
not yet authorized, my duty strictly compels me 
to withhold my approval to all such irregular pro- 

There was another and very important branch of 
the service in Canada which required supervision, 
namely, the marine department, and it was to 
Brock's foresight that Great Britain owed her su- 
premacy of the lakes when the war of 1812 broke 
out. He ordered the building and outfitting of ves- 
sels and bateaux for the lakes and rivers of both the 
Upper and Lower Province. He also directed that 
an assistant quartermaster-general should be sta- 
tioned at Amherstburg and another at Kingston, 
the former to superintend the repairs and stores of 
the boats on Lake Erie, the latter those on Lake On- 
tario. Colonel Brock ordered the following number 
of boats to be kept in constant repair at the several 
military posts: At Quebec, six; Three Rivers, two; 
Fort William Henry, four; Montreal, seven; St. 
Johns, two; Kingston, four; Fort George, twelve; 
York, three; Amherstburg, four. 

In September, 1806, Charles Fox, who had al- 
ways been friendly and conciliatory in his dealings 


with the United States, died, and what was known 
as "The ministry of all the talents" was dissolved. 
Early in 1807, the Duke of Portland's ministry 
was formed, of which Spencer Perceval and George 
Canning were the leading spirits. In France, Tal- 
leyrand was still foreign minister, although his 
influence was waning, and he no longer approved 
of Napoleon's methods. He had been foreign minis- 
ter under the Directory when he attached himself 
to the growing power of the First Consul; and 
while the great diplomat remained at his side, 
Napoleon's career was one of continued success. 
Soon after this date, as Prince of Benevento, 
Talleyrand disappears from the field of politics. 

In America, Jefferson was assisted in his second 
administration by Madison and Gallatin, while Mon- 
roe and Pinkney and Armstrong were his ministers 

News came early in 1807 of Napoleon's further 
triumphs. The victories of Jena and Auerstadt fol- 
lowed Austerlitz, and on October 27th Napoleon 
entered Berlin, and from that city on November 2nd 
issued the famous Berlin decrees against British 
commerce. They began by charging that England 
disregarded the law of nations, that she made non- 
combatants prisoners of war, confiscated private 
property, blockaded unfortified harbours and con- 
sidered places as blockaded although she had not a 
single ship before them. 

By the Berlin decrees it was proclaimed that the 



British Isles were in a state of blockade. Inter- 
course with them was prohibited. All British sub- 
jects within French authority were to be held as 
prisoners of war. All British property, private and 
public, was declared prize of war. No British ships 
were to be admitted to any port of France or her 
allies. Every vessel eluding this rule was to be 
confiscated. These decrees not only affected Eng- 
land but struck at the roots of neutral rights and 
of American commerce with Europe. The motive 
was obvious. Stung by his repeated defeats at sea, 
and unable to cope with his great enemy on the 
ocean, Napoleon had turned his attention to the 
utter destruction of the trade of Great Britain. At 
this moment the latter had not one ally on the 
continent of Europe. 

The treaty with America that had been under 
consideration for some time, had been signed in 
London by Monroe and Pinkney on behalf of the 
United States. It had, however, been repudiated by 
the president, and the unfriendly feeling towards 
England had been still further increased by the 
affair of the Leopard and Chesapeake on June 21st, 
1807. This arose from the desertion in March of 
certain seamen from the sloop Halifax commanded 
by Lord Townshend, while lying in Hampton 
Roads, Virginia. One of its boats and five men with 
a petty officer had been sent on some duty. The men 
rose against their officer, and threatened to throw 
him overboard. They then rowed to shore, landed at 


Norfolk, Virginia, and immediately enlisted on 
board the Chesapeake. On a formal demand being 
made for the men to be given up, the municipal 
authorities refused to interfere, although in similar 
cases of desertion at Gibraltar and elsewhere, British 
municipal assistance had been rendered to the 
United States. Three deserters from H.M.S. Mel- 
ampus were also alleged to have enlisted on the 

On June 21st, the Leopard , under command of 
Captain Humphrey met the Chesapeake^ under 
the command of Commodore Barron, and demand- 
ed the British deserters who were on board. On the 
latter's refusal to have his crew mustered, the 
Leopard fired a broadside doing considerable dam- 
age. The Chesapeake^ not being in a condition to 
resist, then struck, and the captain offered to give 
her up as a prize, which Captain Humphrey re- 
fused, saying that he had executed the order of 
his commander and had nothing more to do. Four 
deserters were brought as prisoners on board the 
Leopard, two more were killed by her fire and one 
jumped overboard. The responsibility for the order 
rested on Admiral Berkeley, then stationed at 

Intense excitement was caused by this event and 
the president issued a proclamation ordering all 
armed British vessels to depart from the harbours 
of the United States. In England, Canning, who 
was then secretary of war, had some correspondence 



on the subject with Monroe, the American repre- 
sentative. The British minister expressed regret 
and offered to make reparation if it should be 
proved such was due. Monroe, in pursuance of his 
instructions, demanded that the men taken from 
the Chesapeake should be restored, the offenders 
punished, that a special mission should be sent 
to the United States to announce the reparation, 
and that all impressment from merchant vessels 
should cease. Canning absolutely refused to con- 
sider the latter clause. He also asked whether the 
proclamation of the president as to British ships 
of war was authentic, or would be withdrawn on 
the disavowal of the act which led to it. The 
nationality of the men seized, he added, must also 
be considered, not in justification of their seizure, 
but in the estimate of the redress asked. As to 
impressment, Canning said, the mode of regulating 
the practice might be considered, but if Monroe's 
instructions left him no discretion it was useless to 
discuss the matter. 

Then followed a proclamation by the govern- 
ment regarding the desertion of British seamen. 
Naval officers were ordered to seize them from 
merchant vessels without unnecessary violence. All 
who returned to their allegiance would be par- 
doned. Those who served on ships of war at en- 
mity with Great Britain, would be punished with 
extreme severity. 

Just before this proclamation was issued the Non- 


importation Act, which had been passed in April by- 
congress, came into force. Then followed the presi- 
dent's embargo on United States vessels,^ which con- 
tinued all through 1808. In the meantime Admiral 
Berkeley had been recalled, though public opinion 
in England took his side, and recognized the right 
of search in ships of war for seamen who had 
deserted in order to enlist in the United States 
service. As to the Chesapeake affair, Mr. Rose, 
vice-president of the board of trade, was sent 
by Canning to negotiate at Washington. He was 
empowered to state that the three men taken 
were to be discharged, but the right was re- 
served of reclaiming from American vessels such 
as were proved to be deserters or natural born 
subjects of England. As the attack had been 
disavowed an allowance would be made to the 
widows and orphans of those killed who could be 
proved not to be British subjects ; no severe pro- 
ceedings were asked to be taken against Com- 
modore Barron, but a demand was to be made for 
the formal disavowal on the part of his government 
of his conduct in encouraging deserters. Negotia- 
tions failed, however, as neither party would yield 
on several important points, such as power of im- 
pressment, the president's proclamation and the 

* Erskine, the British minister at Washington, wrote officially that 
President Jefferson's embargo was not intended as a measure of hos- 
tility against Great Britain, but as a precaution against the capture of 
United States vessels by France. 



disavowal of Commodore Barron's action. The Ches- 
apeake affair therefore remained as an unadjusted 
national dispute. 

All through that year on the borders of Canada 
the expectation was that muttered threats would 
turn to blows, and that those who would defend 
the land must make ready. In Quebec, Brock, who 
was still in command, aided the administration by 
zeal and energy, and used all the resources in his 
power to make the fortress of Quebec impregnable. 
In August the militia were called out, one fifth to 
be prepared to march wherever required. In spite 
of the opinions expressed by some of the English 
officials, the French Canadians turned out with 
alacrity. Secretary Ryland, their bitter enemy, was 
one who expressed himself as doubtful of their 
loyalty. Colonel Brock wrote in reply that he was 
not prepared to hear that the population of the 
province, instead of affording him ready and effec- 
tual support, might probably add to the number of 
his enemies. He was confident that should an 
emergency arise, voluntary offers of service would 
be made by a considerable number of brave and 
loyal subjects. "Even now," he said, ** several 
gentlemen are ready to come forward and enrol 
into companies, men whose fidelity can be re- 
lied on." 

The administrator, Mr. Dunn, also expressed 
himself as confident of the loyalty of the French 
Canadians. He wrote this testimony as to their 


conduct, "The president also feels himself justified 
in asserting that a more ardent devotion to His 
Majesty's person and government had never been 
witnessed in any part of the British dominions." 
Monseigneur Plessis, the Catholic Bishop of Que- 
bec, was always a staunch supporter of English 
rule. In common with the majority of the priests 
and leading Roman Catholics, he probably feared 
that their church would be more in danger if the 
"Bastonais" as they were called, became masters 
of the country than if it remained under England. 
The Bishop's mandement to his flock emphasized 
his loyalty : — " You have not waited until this pro- 
vince should be menaced by an invasion nor even 
until war should be declared, to give proofs of your 
zeal and of your good-will in the public service. At 
a suspicion even, at the first appearance of a rupture 
with the neighbouring states, you have acted as it 
was your duty to do — ready to undertake anything, 
to sacrifice everything, rather than to expose your- 
selves to a change of government, or to lose the 
inestimable advantage that your present condition 
assures to you." In every parish, as fathers and sons 
mustered for service, Te Deums were sung and 
Psalms were chanted, and all along the banks of 
the St. Lawrence the people of an alien tongue and 
race and religion rallied round the standard of the 
English king. 



CAPE DIAMOND, or the rock of Quebec, 
rises sheer from the river St. Lawrence to a 
height of three hundred and forty-five feet. The 
citadel on its highest point presented in the begin- 
ing of the nineteenth century a formidable com- 
bination of powerful works, whence a strong wall, 
supported by small batteries in different places, ran 
to the edge of the precipice, along which it was 
continued to the gateway leading to the Lower 
Town. This gateway was defended by heavy can- 
non, and the approach to it, up Mountain Street, 
was both enfiladed and flanked by many guns of 
large calibre. Thence a line of defence connected 
with the grand battery, a work of great strength, 
armed with a formidable train of 24-pounders, 
and commanding the basin and passage of the 
river, which was here eighteen hundred and thirty- 
seven yards broad. From the battery another line 
was carried on beyond the Hope and Palace Gates, 
both of which were protected by similar defences 
to those of the Lower Town Gate until the line 
formed a junction with the bastion of the Coteau 
de Palais.^ In the Lower Town, on the west side of 

* Bouchette's "Topography of Canada." 



St. Nicholas Street, were, in 1808, the ruins of the 
intendant's palace, once of much importance. In 
1775 its ruin was completed, for when the Ameri- 
cans under Arnold blockaded the city, they estab- 
lished a body of troops in it, but were dislodged 
from their quarters by shells, which set it on fire 
and nearly consumed it. 

The Castle of St. Louis was of stone, built near 
the edge of the precipice about a hundred feet 
below the summit of the cape, and two hundred 
and fifty feet above the river. It was supported 
towards the steep side by a solid work of masonry, 
rising nearly half the height of the edifice, and was 
surrounded by a spacious gallery which gave a most 
commanding view of the river and surrounding 
country. The Chateau was a hundred and sixty-two 
feet long, forty-five feet broad, and three stories 
high. In the direction of the cape it had the appear- 
ance of being much more lofty. It was built shortly 
after Quebec was fortified in 1721, but was neg- 
lected for a number of years, suffered to go to 
decay, and had long ceased to be the residence of 
the governor-general. At the time when Brock was 
commandant it was used only for government 
offices, but in 1808 parliament passed a resolution 
for repairing and beautifying it, and seven thousand 
pounds were voted for the purpose. An additional 
sum of seven thousand pounds was, however, re- 
quired to complete the work. 

Sir James Craig was the first who occupied it 


after its restoration. It was in October, 1807, that 
this veteran officer arrived in Canada as governor- 
general and commander-in-chief. He was then about 
fifty-eight years of age, and had been constantly on 
service since the age of fifteen, when he entered the 
army. He had served in Canada in 1775 during the 
invasion of Montgomery and Arnold, and had been 
in command of the troops that had pursued the 
Americans in their disastrous retreat. He had been 
engaged afterwards under Burgoyne throughout his 
unfortunate campaign, and in the after events of 
the Revolutionary War. In 1794 he became a 
major-general, and was, the following year, at the 
capture of the Cape of Good Hope. He then did 
good service in India, and was promoted to be 
lieutenant-general in 1801. In 1802 he was placed 
in charge of the eastern district in England, and 
in 1805 was sent to the Mediterranean, where his 
health broke down. Believing that he had recovered 
he accepted the position of governor-general of 
Canada. In many respects it was an unfortunate 
appointment, for, experienced as he was in military 
affairs, he was lacking in tact and political know- 
ledge, and he came to the country prejudiced to 
an unreasonable extent against the majority of the 
people he had come to govern. He had an utter 
disbelief in the loyalty of the French Canadians, 
and his treatment of them bore bitter fruit in after 
years. It was owing partly to his mistaken policy 
that the misunderstandings and ill-feeling arose 



which led ultimately to the rebellion of 1837. His 
views were strengthened by the hitherto veiled 
opinions of most of the official class in Quebec, 
and the constant daily machinations of Ryland, 
who filled again, as in preceding administrations, 
the post of private secretary to the governor, and 
clerk of the council. Ryland was certainly not 
a very suitable secretary for the governor of a 
country whose inhabitants were largely French and 
Catholic. In one of his letters the secretary wrote 
that he despised and hated the Catholic religion, for 
it degraded and embruted human reason, and be- 
came the curse of every country wherein it existed. 
His pet scheme, to which he tried to commit the 
governor, was to break the power of the Roman 
Catholic church by taking away its endowments, 
and by making the priesthood dependent on execu- 
tive authority. 

Late in 1806 a newspaper named Le Canadien 
had made its appearance in Quebec. It was pub- 
lished in French, and bore for its motto: *'Nos in- 
stitutions y notre langue, et nos his" There was little 
or no antagonism between the French and English 
inhabitants of the province when it was founded, 
and its constitution simply claimed the freedom of 
British subjects, or in its own language, ''La liberty 
dun Anglais, qui est a present celledun Canadien'^ 
The newspaper, however, appealed to race pre- 
judices. It was the organ of the majority of the 
legislative assembly, and claimed for that assembly 


a power that was not given to it by the constitu- 
tion. The Quebec Gazette, the Quebec Mercury^ 
and the Montreal Gazette had hitherto been the only 
newspapers in the province, and the editors of all 
had fallen under the displeasure of the assembly, 
which had ordered the publisher of the latter to be 
arrested, while the editor of the Mercury only 
escaped incarceration by offering an apology. The 
offence was that these journals had censured the 
vote of the majority of the popular assembly on a 
jail tax, which was then a burning question. It was 
little wonder that the wrath of the Gallo-Canadians 
was roused, for in one of its articles the Mercury 
thus expressed its opinion: "This province is far too 
French for a British colony. Whether we be in a 
state of peace or war, it is absolutely necessary that 
we exert all our efforts, by every avowable means, 
to oppose the increase of the French and the aug- 
mentation of their influence. After forty-seven years 
possession, it is now fitting that the province be- 
come truly British." 

Sir James Craig's first duty on his arrival was, 
of course, to consider the defence of Canada, for 
the hostile feeling in the United States was still 
growing, and had been increased by the orders-in- 
council that England had passed in November 
in retaliation for the Berlin decrees. These orders 
refused to neutrals the right of trading from one 
hostile port to another, and bore heavily upon the 
profitable carrying trade of the United States. 



Before Sir James Craig's arrival, Brock had peti- 
tioned the government for the means to place the 
fortifications of Quebec in v^rhat he considered a 
proper condition. He said he would require from 
six hundred to one thousand men every day for six 
weeks or two months to complete the defences. 
From the correspondence it is shown that the 
president-in-council considered that embodying the 
militia according to law was all that the civil gov- 
ernment could undertake to do. Brock wrote to 
Colonel Gordon on September 6th, 1807, that he 
was expecting hostiUties to break out at any mo- 
ment, and that President Dunn had taken no 
precautionary measures except to order one-fifth of 
the militia — about ten thousand men — to be in 
readiness to march on the shortest notice. In spite 
of the lack of cooperation on the part of the gov- 
ernment, repairs and additions had been made to 
the fortifications under Colonel Brock's superin- 
tendence. Amongst other things, he had caused 
a battery of eight 36-pounders to be raised six- 
teen feet upon the "cavalier" in the centre of the 
citadel, so as to command the opposite heights. 
This was known at first as "Brock's Battery," but 
the name was afterwards altered by Sir James 
Craig to "King's Battery." "Thinking," as Brock 
good-humouredly vi^'ites to his brother, "that any- 
thing so very preeminent should be distinguished 
by the most exalted appellation — the greatest 
compHment that he could pay my judgment." 


Volunteering was going on with spirit as the 
following letter from Brock to his friend James 
Cuthbert, of Berthier/ shows. He writes October 
12th, 1807: — "You may well suppose that the 
principal subject of conversation at headquarters is 
the military state of the country. I have been care- 
ful, in justice to you, to mention to Sir James 
Craig the public spirit you have manifested in 
forming a company from among the inhabitants 
of your seigniory, without the least pecuniary or 
other assistance from government. You must be 
aware that in any future general arrangement it 
will become an essential object with government to 
secure a more substantial hold on the service of the 

1 The James Ross Cuthbert of this letter was the son of the Hon. 
James Cuthbert who had served in the navy as lieutenant of the flag- 
ship at the siege of Carthagena, in 1721. He afterwards entered the 
42nd Regiment on its formation. He was present in the 15th Regiment 
at the capture of Louisbourg and served under Wolfe at Quebec, carry- 
ing to England the despatches of Brigadier-General Murray to whom 
he was aide-de-camp. 

After the conquest, having left the army and become a settler in 
Canada, he was appointed by Lord Dorchester one of the members of 
the first legislative council. In the invasion of 1775, he was par- 
ticularly active in visiting the American camp at Sorel, was taken 
prisoner by the Americans and sent in irons to Albany. During his 
absence they burned his manor house and destroyed his property. His 
son, James Ross Cuthbert, married an American, a daughter of Doctor 
Rush, of Philadelphia. A sister of this lady was married to a Captain 
Manners of the 49th. 

Brock writes of them both to his sister-in-law in England, begging 
her to call on Mrs. Manners, who was then living at Barnet. He says, 
"Her sister Mrs. Ross Cuthbert, a charming little creature, makes her 
husband, (my most intimate friend and with whom I pass a great part 
of my leisure hours) a most happy man." 



men than their mere promise, and as it is intended 
to give every possible latitude to their prejudices, 
and to study in everything their convenience, it is 
thought no regulation to that effect can operate to 
diminish the number of voluntary offers. As you 
have been the first to set such a laudable example, 
Sir James thinks it but just that Berthier should 
take the lead in any new project he may adopt, and 
he desires me to ask your opinion in regard to the 
following points." Then followed the proposals of 
government with regard to arms, clothing and pay, 
and the rank of the officers. 

Before tlie arrival of Sir James Craig, Brock 
wrote that voluntary offers of service had been 
made by numbers of the inhabitants to form 
themselves into corps of cavalry, artillery and 
infantry, at little or no expense to government if 
they were furnished with arms, but these offers 
had not been encouraged by President Dunn. The 
fact was, as the minutes of council show, there 
were no means at the disposal of the executive for 
equipping, arming, and paying troops. The miUtia, 
when embodied, were entitled to receive the same 
pay and allowance as the king's troops. The minute 
of council reads : — "No funds for this purpose are 
at the disposal of the civil government, but have 
invariably been provided by the commander-in- 
chief of the forces. The civil government is not by 
law authorized to provide for the furnishing of 
carts or horses for works as proposed." 


At this time Lieutenant-Governor Gore had been 
supplied with four thousand muskets from the 
king's arsenal at Quebec, and with various mihtary 
stores. This left at Quebec only seven thousand 
muskets for the militia of Lower Canada. As to 
the temper of the militia of the province, Brock 
says in a letter to his friend, Colonel Gordon : 
"The Canadians have unquestionably shown a great 
willingness upon this occasion to be trained, and 
I make not the least doubt, would oppose with 
vigour any invasion of the Americans. How far the 
same sentiments would actuate them were a French 
force to join I will not undertake to say ; at any 
rate I feel that every consideration of prudence and 
policy ought to determine me to keep in Quebec a 
sufficient force to secure its safety. The number of 
troops that could be detached would be small, 
notwithstanding a great deal might be done, in 
conjunction with the militia, in a country inter- 
sected in every direction by rivers, deep ravines, 
and lined at intervals on both sides of the roads by 
thick woods." 

Another proposal to raise a volunteer corps among 
the Scottish settlers of Glengarry had been made 
by Colonel John Macdonell. This was forwarded 
by Brock to the secretary of state. Brock strongly 
advocated the formation of the corps, as he said at 
that time there were only three hundred militia 
trained to arms in both the Canadas. He also 
advocated the appointment of the Rev. Alexander 



Macdonell as chaplain of the corps. The men were all 
Highland Catholics, and were very much attached to 
him. He had acted as the chaplain of the Glengarry 
Fencibles during the rebellion in Ireland in 1796, 
who had emigrated to Canada under his leadership in 
1803, and had settled in the eastern district of Upper 
Canada. Brock thought the corps would be soon 
completed and would form a nursery from which 
the army might draw a number of hardy recruits. 
It was some time, however, before this was done. 

At the close of the year 1807, there was a feeling 
of greater security in Canada, for public feeling in 
the states had calmed. Brock writes on December 
13th, to his friend Ross Cuthbert : — " You will do 
me the justice to believe that I did not lose a 
moment in laying the clear and satisfactory state- 
ment you sent me of the constitution and character 
of the volunteer company under your command 
before the governor. That something will shortly 
be done there is no doubt, although the prevailing 
idea here is against a war with our neighbours. 
People imagine the Americans will not dare to 
engage in the contest, but as I consider their 
councils to be directed solely by French influence, 
it is impossible to say where it will lead them." 

The French influence feared by Brock was still 
further to be exercised the following year, when 
Napoleon, by every means in his power, endeav- 
oured to force on a war between the United States 
and Great Britain. 



EARLY in 1808, Colonel Brock left Quebec to 
take command in Montreal. Shortly after- 
wards he was appointed acting brigadier-general by 
Sir James Craig, an appointment which was con- 
firmed in September. In a letter to his brother, 
Brock wrote that, although General Ferguson had 
been newly appointed major-general, he thought he 
would not likely come, as was intended, to Canada, 
but that he (Brock) would succeed him both in 
rank and command at Quebec. Montreal, in 1808, 
was both a lively and a hospitable place. The 
magnates of the North- West Company were estab- 
lished there, and entertained with a lavishness that 
was not to be found elsewhere. The fame of the 
Beaver Club has remained unrivalled in Canada. 

Montreal, the old Ville Marie, once the fortified 
Indian stronghold of Hochelaga, was founded in 
1642 by Maisonneuve. Soon afterwards the hospital 
or Hotel Dieu was established by Madame de 
Bouillon, and in 1650, the cathedral of Notre Dame 
was founded by Marguerite de Bourgeois. Montreal 
can therefore claim an antiquity almost equal to 
that of Quebec. 

For more than fifty years a struggle continued 




between the French settlers and their Indian foes. 
At one most critical time in 1660, the whole island, 
up to the palisades that surrounded the town, was 
swept by war parties, and only the sacrifice of 
DoUard (sometimes called Daulac) and his seven- 
teen associates, saved the place. In 1665 the Mar- 
quis de Tracy arrived with the Carignan Regiment 
and established forts at Ste. Therese, Sorel, and 
Chambly, naming the two latter places after offi- 
cers in his regiment. 

Montreal soon became the centre of the great 
fur trade with the North- West. Unlike its sister 
city, Quebec, whose narrow, steep streets with the 
bristling fortifications that towered above, kept the 
characteristics of a century before, Montreal, by 
1808, had already put on the appearance of a 
modern town. The old wall that had once sur- 
rounded it had been removed in 1801. On the 
banks of the river St. Lawrence, which flowed 
around it, were fine warehouses in which were 
stored the costly skins destined for the markets of 
Frankfort and St. Petersburg. There were colleges 
and churches and taverns, too, of no mean repute, 
and scattered here and there were the fine mansions 
and spacious gardens of the " Lords of the North." 

Here lived James McGill, to whom the Montreal 
of to-day owes its famous university. He had a 
beautiful house on the slope of Mount Royal, 
which he bequeathed with an endowment of ten 
thousand pounds to trustees for the purpose of 


establishing an English college — the first in Canada. 
Here also lived WiUiam McGillivray and Simon 
McTavish, whose names are familiar in the annals 
of the "great company." 

Brock was quartered at the Chateau de Ramezay, 
then much out of repair. When Montreal was 
occupied by the Americans in 1776, this had been 
the headquarters of the leaders of the invasion. 
Benjamin Franklin, Bishop Carroll, and Mr. Chase, 
when they came from congress on their mission 
to the French Canadians, had also been sheltered 
by its walls. 

General Brock, with the bonhomie that was 
natural to him, seems to have entered very heartily 
into the gaieties of the place. His friend, Colonel 
Thornton, writes to him from Quebec, "You ought 
never to feel uneasy about your friends, for in your 
kindness and hospitality no want of comfort can 
ever be felt by them ; in this I am fully supported 
by all the accounts from Montreal." 

News came at this time that Sir George Prevost 
had been appointed lieutenant-governor of Nova 
Scotia, and had also been made second in command 
to Sir James Craig in North America. He arrived 
in Halifax in January, 1808, bringing with him the 
7th, 8th, and 23rd Regiments of Foot. 

During this year there seems to have been very 
little correspondence between General Brock and 
his family. He complains to one of his brothers 
that although he had written to all of them since 



navigation opened, he had heard only from Irving, 
"who, to do him justice, is the most attentive and 
regular correspondent amongst you." It was not 
always the fault of the correspondents that letters 
from England were so few and far between, for 
each vessel now on the high seas was liable to 
capture, and sometimes even when the coveted 
mail did arrive, an accident, such as the upsetting 
of a canoe, would deprive the colony of the longed- 
for home news. Official letters from England by 
way of Halifax and Quebec took four and some- 
times six months to reach Toronto. There was only 
irregular communication between that place and 
Montreal, and it took a month — sometimes longer 
— for the carriage of letters. 

Brock, in his letter, tells his brother that he is 
getting on pretty well at Montreal, although "the 
place in summer loses the advantage it had over 
Quebec in winter." One thing he rejoices in — "not 
a desertion for sixteen months in the 49th, except 
Hogan, Savery's former servant. He was servant 
to Major Glegg, at Niagara, when a fair damsel 
persuaded him to this act of madness." 

Brock writes in July from Montreal to his friend 
Cuthbert as to the equipment of the volunteer force 
he had raised: "Be assured the general has very 
substantial reasons for objecting to any issue of 
arms at this time. Were your corps the sole con- 
sideration, be satisfied he would not hesitate a 
moment, but he cannot show you such marked 


preference without exciting a degree of jealousy 
which might occasion unpleasant discussions. I am 
sorry you have deprived yourself of the very hand- 
some dagger your partiality induced you to send me. 
No such proof was needed to convince me of your 
friendship. We have not a word of inteUigence 
here more than what the Quebec papers give. The 
Americans appear to me to be placed in a curious 
and ridiculous predicament. War with that republic 
is now out of the question, and I trust we shaU 
consider well before we admit them as allies." 

A letter from Sir James Craig to Lord Castle- 
reagh, of August 4th, gives the possible reason why 
he delayed equipping Cuthbert's company, and 
shows that the prejudices he had formed thirty 
years before were still strong. He says: "The mil- 
itia have hitherto been only contemplated in theory, 
except in the town of Quebec. Lord Dorchester 
could not assemble any in 1775. In the following 
year I commanded the largest body ever brought 
together, but I was then in pursuit of a flying 
enemy. Since then no attempt to assemble them 
has been made. The Canadians of to-day are not 
warhke; they hke to make a boast of their militia 
service, but all dislike the subordination and con- 
straint. If the seigneurs possessed their old influence 
it might be different. Lawyers and notaries have 
now sprung into notice, and with them insubordina- 
tion. The members returned to the new House 
consist of fifteen lawyers, fourteen farmers, and 



only seven sdgneui's. In the event of having to 
contend with a French force no help is to be ex- 
pected from this province. On the contrary, arms 
in their hands would be dangerous. They are French 
at heart yet." 

From the time of his arrival Sir James Craig 
was possessed with the idea that the French Cana- 
dians, their leaders especially, were hostile to Brit- 
ish suzerainty, and were to be distrusted in all 
things. At his elbow was the partisan secretary, 
always magnifying local disputes, and increasing his 
suspicion of hidden conspiracies. However, at the 
opening of parliament in January, 1808, the gover- 
nor's address was conciliatory. He spoke warmly of 
the zeal and the loyalty of the militia, and said 
that all appearances gave promise that if the colony 
were attacked it would be defended in such a man- 
ner "as was to be expected of a brave race who 
fight for all that is dear to it." The session was taken 
up with the question of Jews and judges sitting in 
parliament. A resolution was passed excluding the 
former, and by a vote of twenty-two to two the 
assembly passed a bill excluding judges as well. 
This bill was rejected by the legislative council, and 
a hostile feeling arose between the governor and 
the assembly, whose speaker, M. Panet, he looked 
on with special aversion as a shareholder in Le 

The first session of Sir James Craig's administra- 
tion was the last of the fourth parliament, and a 


new election took place in May. Shortly afterwards 
the governor took the impoHtic step of dismissing 
from the mihtia Lieutenant-Colonel Panet (the 
speaker), Captains B^dard and Taschereau, Lieu- 
tenant Borgia and Surgeon Blanchet. The letter of 
dismissal to each, signed by H. W. Ryland, stated 
that the reason of the dismissal was that His Ex- 
cellency could place no confidence in the services 
of a person whom he had good ground for consider- 
ing as one of the proprietors of a seditious and 
libellous publication. 

As to the opinion expressed by Brock in his 
letter of July, 1808, that war with the United 
States was now out of the question, it may be well 
to glance at the condition of affairs in Europe, and 
to find out what had produced the change of feel- 
ing in America. Russia, in 1807, had vainly strug- 
gled to free herself from the power of France, but 
after an unsuccessful campaign had concluded the 
Treaty of Tilsit with Napoleon. By its secret articles 
France allowed Russia to take Finland from Swe- 
den, and Russia, on her part, promised to close her 
ports against British vessels. Napoleon's Berhn de- 
crees had not really gone into force until the sum- 
mer of 1807, when he ordered them to be executed 
in Holland, and in August a general seizure of 
neutrals took place at Amsterdam. From that time 
trade with the continent ceased. The seizure of 
their vessels had been a severe blow to the United 
States, and had roused in that country a feeling of 



distrust in Napoleon's friendship. Then followed 
the British orders-in-council, by which all neutral 
trade was prohibited from Copenhagen to Trieste. 
No American vessel was to enter any port of 
Europe from which the British were excluded, 
unless it had first cleared from a British port. 
Truly, neutrals were in a very difficult position. 

In July, 1807, England sent a large naval ex- 
pedition to Copenhagen under command of Lord 
Gambler, with transports containing twenty-seven 
thousand troops under Lord Cathcart. This expedi- 
tion was sent with a peremptory request to the 
Prince Regent to deliver up the Danish fleet. From 
September 1st to the 5th, Copenhagen was bom- 
barded. Scarcely any resistance was offered, and 
the fleet was surrendered, while Danish merchant 
vessels worth ten millions of dollars were confiscated. 
These arbitrary measures were taken in order to 
protect British trade and to defeat the designs of 
Napoleon to form a powerful navy. In consequence, 
the Russian fleet was shut up at Cronstadt, and the 
Baltic remained under the control of Great Britain. 
The naval combination carefully prepared by Na- 
poleon in the Treaty of Tilsit utterly failed. 

Late in 1807, Napoleon had stripped the elector 
of Hesse Cassel of his dominions on the plea that 
he had not joined him in the war against Prussia, 
and had done the same to the Duke of Brunswick 
on the ground that the duke had joined Prussia 
against him. Out of these domains the arch dictator 


had created the kingdom of WestphaHa, and had 
bestowed it upon his brother, Jerome Bonaparte. 
Soon after, because the Prince Regent of Portugal 
had refused to enforce the BerHn decrees against 
England, Napoleon sent Junot with thirty thousand 
men to take possession of Portugal, and announced 
in the Moniteuy^ that the House of Braganza had 
ceased to reign in Europe. Junot entered Lisbon 
without opposition, to find that the Prince Regent 
and the court had embarked for Brazil, taking with 
them the ships that Napoleon coveted. 

Then Tuscany was seized and added to France, 
and the Pope was ordered to declare war against 
England. Having refused to do this on the plea 
that he was a sovereign of peace, the French 
general, by Napoleon's orders, entered Rome in 
February, 1808, occupied the Castle St. Angelo, 
and took the papal troops under his own com- 

Napoleon's next move was against Spain. The 
government there was in a most corrupt state, but 
up to this time the country had been the humble 
and submissive ally of France. Napoleon, still in 
the guise of friendship, took possession of her 
strongest fortresses, and having by a ruse got the 
king and queen and the heir Ferdinand into his 
power at Bayonne, he induced the old King Carlos 
IV. to resign his Crown in favour "of his friend 
and ally the Emperor of the French." 

Napoleon then issued a decree appointing "his 



dearly beloved brother Joseph, King of Naples and 
Sicily, to the Crowns of Spain and the Indies." By 
another decree he bestowed the vacant Crown of 
Naples and Sicily on his " dearly beloved cousin, 
Joachim Murat." Thus having distributed the 
Crovnis of Europe he turned his attention with 
redoubled energy to the humbling of his great 
enemy, England. " Great Britain shall be des- 
troyed," he said at Fontainebleau, '* I have the 
means of doing it and they shall be employed." 

In the United States, President Jefferson had 
determined on a scheme of non-intercourse and 
had laid an embargo on American shipping. *' The 
whole world," he said, "is laid under an inter- 
dict by these two nations (England and France) 
and our vessels, their cargoes and crews, are to be 
taken by one or the other, for whatever place they 
may be destined out of our limits. If, therefore, on 
leaving our harbours we are certain to lose them, is 
it not better for vessels, cargoes and seamen to 
keep them at home ? " Gallatin, secretary of the 
navy, wished to limit the duration of the embargo, 
as he said he preferred war to a permanent em- 
bargo, but Jefferson was obstinate and said it 
should continue until the return of peace in Eu- 
rope. He had not counted the cost. 

The embargo continued in force all through 1808 

in spite of its extreme unpopularity throughout the 

United States. As a substitute for war it proved a 

failure. By it every citizen was tempted to evade 



or defy the law. " It made men smugglers or 
traitors but not a single hero." 

The embargo reacted in favour of the British 
provinces in America, partly by calling forth the 
energies of the population and making them ac- 
quainted with their own resources, and partly by 
means of the indirect trade that was carried on 
from Eastport in Maine, across the border, and by 
way of Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence. 
In order to avoid the embargo on the coasts, goods 
were smuggled over the frontier to be sent to the 
West Indies and Halifax. In spite of new regula- 
tions and restrictions put forth by the American 
government, smuggling flourished. Craft of all sorts 
and sizes crowded the river St. Lawrence, and 
Canadian merchants prospered. Immense rafts were 
collected near the boundary line on Lake Cham- 
plain. These rafts were said to be loaded with the 
surplus products of Vermont for a year, consisting 
of wheat, potash, pork and beef. The coasting 
vessels, which were the means of commerce be- 
tween the states, used to try to evade the law by 
putting into some port in Nova Scotia or the West 
Indies on pretence of stress of weather, and then 
leaving their cargo. 

Fresh and stricter regulations were now made. 
At first the embargo was not felt in the United 
States, but when supplies were consumed the out- 
cry against it became violent. As the year went on 
it was found to have paralyzed the country. A 



reign of idleness was established, demoralizing to 
everybody. A traveller (Lambert) writes that the 
harbour of New York was full of shipping, but the 
ships were dismantled and laid up. "Not a box or 
a bale to be seen on the wharves. Counting-houses 
all shut up, and merchants, clerks, porters and 
labourers walking about with their hands in their 

New England was in a worse plight. The people 
believed that Jefferson was sold to France. Wheat 
in the Middle States fell from two dollars to 
seventy-five cents a bushel. The chief burden how- 
ever fell on the Southern States, especially on 
Jefferson's own state — Virginia. Tobacco there was 
worthless. Planters were beggared. The country was 
deprived of tea, coffee, sugar, salt, molasses and rum. 

During 1808, the feehng in the country against 
France became stronger. By Napoleon's Milan de- 
cree, which reached America in March, "every ship 
which should have been searched by a British ves- 
sel, or should have paid any duty to the British 
government, or should come from or be destined to 
any port in the British possessions in any part of 
the world should be good prize." It was after the 
Milan decree that the question was mooted in the 
United States of an alliance with England, and it 
was announced by Secretary IVIadison that an order 
had been issued to discharge all British subjects 
from national ships. The non-intercourse and em- 
bargo had done England immense harm and were 


working havoc among certain classes of the popula- 
tion. The artizans of Staffordshire, I^ancashire and 
Yorkshire were reduced to the verge of famine, 
while quantities of sugar, coffee, etc., overfilled the 
warehouses of London. Under the orders-in-coun- 
cil the whole produce of the West Indies, shut 
out from Europe by Napoleon's decrees, and from 
America by the embargo, came to England, until 
the market was overstocked. English merchants 
sent their goods to Brazil until the beach at Rio 
de Janeiro was covered with property perishing for 
want of buyers and warehouses. 

While this war of trade was going on. Napoleon, 
by every means in his power, by taunts, and threats, 
and cajolery, was trying to force America into a 
declaration of war against England. He said, " The 
United States, more than any other power, have 
to complain of the aggressions of England. In the 
situation in which England has placed the con- 
tinent. His Majesty has no doubt of a declaration 
of war against her by the United States." He wrote 
to his secretary of war, Champagny, " In my mind, 
I regard war as declared between England and 
America from the day when England published 
her decrees." Again he wrote, "Let the American 
minister know verbally that whenever war shall be 
declared with England, and whenever, in conse- 
quence, the Americans shall send troops into the 
Floridas to help the Spaniards and repulse the 
English, I shall much approve of it. You will even 



let him perceive that in case America shall be 
disposed to enter into a treaty of alliance and 
make common cause with me, I shall not be un- 
willing to intercede with the court of Spain to 
obtain the cession of these same Floridas in favour 
of the Americans." So the tempting bait of Florida 
was held dangling before Jefferson, whose cherished 
hope it was to see that territory added to the 
United States. 

General Armstrong, the American minister in 
Paris, does not seem to have been deceived by 
Napoleon's manoeuvres. He writes : " With one 
hand they offer us the blessing of equal alliance, 
with the other they menace us with war if we do 
not accept the kindness, and with both they pick 
our pockets with all imaginable dexterity, diligence, 
and impudence." 

Napoleon during this year (1808) was not having 
the success in Spain that he had expected. A patriot 
party had arisen there, aided by EngHsh troops and 
gold, and had driven Joseph Bonaparte from his ill- 
gotten throne. Arthur Wellesley had landed, and at 
the battle of Vimiera, on August 21st, had defeated 
Junot, who at C intra consented to evacuate Portu- 
gal on the consideration that his army of twenty-two 
thousand men should be conveyed by sea to France. 
In August, also, news came to the emperor that 
General Dupont's army had been captured by the 
Spaniards, and eighty thousand French troops were 
thrown back on the Pyrenees. Napoleon was stung 


to anger at this ill-success, and in September sent 
a fresh army of two hundred and fifty thousand 
men across the mountains, and announced that he 
himself was departing in a few days in order to 
crown Joseph as king of Spain in Madrid, and to 
plant his eagles on the fort of Lisbon. It was not 
the probable loss of Spain and Portugal that he 
cared for then, but the loss of their fleets that were 
to have given France the supremacy of the ocean. 

Napoleon left Paris October 29th, 1808, and in 
November began his campaign. He occupied INIad- 
rid on December 4th, and learned that Sir John 
Moore had marched from Portugal to the north of 
Spain. He then hurried over the mountains to cut 
off his retreat, but was out-generalled. Moore es- 
caped to his fleet, and Napoleon, in January, 1809, 
leaving Soult to march to Corunna, abandoned 
Spain forever. 

England at this time was defiant, and fondly 
hoped that the power of the devastator of Eu- 
rope was on the wane. She passed a new order- 
in-council in December, doing away with export 
duties on foreign articles passing through England. 
It was her object now to encourage Americans to 
evade the embargo by running produce to the 
West Indies or South America. England had to 
feed her own armies in Spain, and the Spanish 
patriots also, and did not want to tax American 
wheat or salt pork on their way there. By the end 
of 1808 the embargo was so unpopular in America 



that its repeal was decided on. Jefferson wished to 
be spared the humiliation of signing the repeal, and 
hoped that it would continue in force until June, 
1809, when the new president, James Madison, 
would be in power, but public opinion was too 
strong, and its withdrawal was signed as the last 
act of his administration. 




IN September, 1808, Brock was superseded in his 
command at Montreal by Major-General Drum- 
mond, and returned to Quebec. He did not like 
being separated from the 49th, but, as he remarks, 
"soldiers must accustom themselves to frequent 
movements, and as they have no choice it often 
happens they are placed in situations little agreeing 
with their inclinations." His appointment as briga- 
dier was confirmed, but he writes, "if the 49th are 
ordered away my rank will not be an inducement 
to keep me in the Canadas." As to the embargo, he 
says, "it has proved a famous harvest to merchants. 
It was evidently adopted with the idea of pleasing 
France, but no half measures can satisfy Napoleon, 
and this colony has been raised by it to a degree of 
importance that ensures its future prosperity." Sir 
James Craig, in his speech at the opening of par- 
liament, referred to the embargo as having had the 
effect of calling forth the energies of the population 
of Canada, adding that it had made the country 
acquainted with its resources. 

It was in April, 1809, that the new House met, 
and the speaker was again M. Panet, who, al- 
though defeated for Quebec, had been elected 



member for Huntingdon. Much to everybody's sur- 
prise, the governor ratified the appointment. There 
were fourteen members of British origin in the 
assembly, while thirty-six were French Canadians, 
and again the question of judges and Jews having 
seats in the assembly was discussed with much 
warmth. In the midst of the debate, when a resolu- 
tion had been passed excluding Jews, and a bill for 
the disqualification of judges had been read a first 
time, the governor suddenly appeared upon the 
scene, and stated his intention of proroguing and 
dissolving the House. He reproved the members 
for having wasted their time in frivolous debates, 
and while reproving them he took occasion to 
thank the legislative council for their zeal and 
unanimity. The session had lasted just thirty-six 

The governor afterwards visited several of the 
principal places in the province, where he was 
received with effusion by the anti-Canadian party. 
The Quebec Mercury^ alluding to the conduct of 
the assembly in persisting in its action against the 
judges, said: "The conduct of a conquered people, 
lifted by their victors fi'om the depths of misery to 
the height of prosperity, and to whom has been 
extended every species of indulgence, is not such as 
might have been expected at their hands." L,e 
Canadien naturally justified the opinion of the 
majority of the House, and quoted Blackstone, 
Locke, and other British authorities as to the rights 


of parliament. The editor of the Journal wrote: 
"The king's representative has power by law to 
dissolve the House when he thinks fit to do so, but 
he has no right whatever to make abusive remarks 
such as his harangue contained upon the action of 
the legislature — a body which is absolutely inde- 
pendent of his authority." So the little rift grew 
wider every day. The governor fondly hoped that 
the new elections would give a diiFerent complexion 
to the House, but in this he was disappointed. It 
was even more strongly opposed to his party than 
the former one, and included among the new mem- 
bers M. Louis-Joseph Papineau, then a student of 
twenty, who, in after years, was destined to take 
a very prominent part in the long struggle between 
the assembly and the legislative council. 

In the meantime, before the new House met, the 
British ministry had sent instructions to Sir James 
Craig as to the ineligibility of judges to sit in 
parliament, and directed him to sanction the bill 
excluding them. 

The year 1809 saw Napoleon's waning star once 
more in the ascendant. Austria had risen against 
him, only to be defeated, and on May 10th the 
victor had entered Vienna in triumph. Then fol- 
lowed the battle of Wagram on July 6th, which 
was a crushing blow to the Austrian army under the 
command of the Archduke Charles. An armistice 
was signed on the 12th, and on October 24th, by a 
treaty of peace, Austria ceded all her sea-coast to 



France. The news of Napoleon's successes aroused 
England to fresh exertions. Canning, the war minis- 
ter, increased the army to five hundred thousand 
men. The regulars were fed by volunteers from the 
militia. The militia was kept up by voluntary re- 
cruiting and by ballot. Sir Arthur Wellesley, who 
had returned to England after Cintra, was again 
sent out after the death of Moore at Corunna, 
at the head of a much better army than he had 
had the year before, to match his strength against 
Generals Soult and INIassena. There was a scarcity, 
though, of transport, supplies, and specie. England 
was drained of gold to supply the needs of her 
army in the Peninsula, and to assist the Spanish 
patriots in their struggle against France. 

There was little chance for Canada's needs to be 
attended to in this great crisis. Sir James Craig in 
February asked the home government for a re- 
inforcement of twelve thousand troops, with the 
necessary camp equipage, two thousand to be sta- 
tioned in the citadel at Quebec, two thousand in 
Upper Canada, and eight thousand for an active 
field force. This was his estimate of what he con- 
sidered necessary for the proper defence of the 
country. His request arrived at a time when the 
cabinet was rent asunder by dissensions. The Duke 
of Portland, the nominal leader, was powerless. 
Castlereagh and Canning were at war. Both hated 
Perceval. Castlereagh was bent on sending troops 
to the Scheldt to take Flushing and Antwerp, 


where Napoleon was building a fleet. Canning 
wanted troops only for the Peninsula. The former 
had his way, and the ill-fated Walcheren expedition 
was undertaken. Forty thousand troops were sent 
against Antwerp, with thirty-three sail of the line, 
besides frigates. Flushing was besieged, but Ant- 
werp, being reinforced and strengthened, was im- 
pregnable. Disputes arose between Lord Chatham, 
who was the commander-in-chief, and Admiral Sir 
Richard Strachan. By September the siege was given 
up, and fifteen thousand men were sent to the island 
of Walcheren. A plague of fever attacked them 
there, and the whole expedition turned out a fail- 
ure. The result was the breaking up of the Portland 
ministry, and the retirement of Castlereagh under a 
cloud. No wonder was it under these circumstances 
that Sir James Craig's request was ignored, and 
no troops were available for Canada. Sir Arthur 
Wellesley alone was holding up abroad the honour 
and fame of England. He drove Marshal Soult out 
of Portugal, marched up the valley of the Tagus, 
caused Joseph Bonaparte to fly a second time from 
Madrid, and, on July 28th, 1809, fought and won 
the desperate battle of Talavera. For these services 
the brilliant soldier was rewarded by the title of 
Viscount Wellington of Talavera. 

Public opinion in England was so occupied with 
affairs in the Peninsula and political dissensions at 
home that it did not concern itself with distant 
Canada, or even with the standing quarrel with the 



United States. The new president, James Madison, 
while removing the embargo, still held to non- 
intercourse with France and England, their col- 
onies or dependencies. The Non-Intercourse Bill, 
brought in by the committee on foreign relations 
and passed by congress, excluded all public and 
private vessels of France and England from Ameri- 
can waters, and forbade, under severe penalties, the 
importation of British or French goods. It was at 
this time that one John Henry, was sent by Ry- 
land, on behalf of the governor-general of Canada, 
into the New England States to report on the state 
of public opinion there with regard to internal 
politics and the probability of war. It was supposed 
then that the Federalists of Massachusetts, rather 
than submit to the difficulties they were subjected 
to, would bring about a separation from the union. 
Henry's letters, unimportant in themselves, after- 
wards came into the possession of the government 
of the United States, and were made use of to 
foment the war feeling of 1812. 

Early in 1809 Canning had sent instructions to 
the British minister in Washington, Mr. Erskine, 
to offer to withdraw the orders-in-council on cer- 
tain conditions. The minister exceeded his instruc- 
tions, and announced in April that the orders 
of 1807 would be withdrawn, in respect to the 
United States, on June 10th. There was univer- 
sal joy and satisfaction throughout that country 
at the resumption of trade. A thousand ships 


hurried out of the harbours laden with merchandise 
for British ports. The French minister at Washing- 
ton remonstrated at the hasty behef in promises, 
and it was soon found that the announcement was 
premature. The conditions attached to the with- 
drawal had not been insisted upon by the EngHsh 
envoy, and on the very day, June 10th, that the re- 
vocation of the order was arranged for, it was learned 
in America that on April 26th another order-in- 
council had been passed by England establishing a 
strict blockade of the ports of Holland, France, 
and Italy.^ British merchants, frightened at the 
prospect of free entrance of American ships to the 
Baltic, had crowded the board of trade protesting 
that if American vessels with cheaper sugar, cotton, 
and coffee were allowed into Amsterdam and Ant- 
werp, British trade was at an end. Their warehouses 
were stuffed full, and they could not stand Ameri- 
can competition and the resulting fall in prices. 
Relations with the United States were more strained 
than ever. Smuggling during these years of restric- 
tion seems to have flourished everywhere, and the 
island of Heligoland was the chief depot for Eng- 
lish traders in the Baltic. 

Much as they hated the English orders-in- coun- 
cil, Americans, on the other hand, were awak- 
ing to the knowledge that Napoleon's friendship 

* An order-in-council was, however, passed, protecting for a limited 
time those United States vessels which had sailed, believing the orders 
were rescinded. 



was a hollow mockery. He was no longer the cham- 
pion of republics, for he was an emperor surrounded 
by an aristocracy on whom he had conferred heredi- 
tary titles. He had seized American ships on the 
high seas on the pretext that they had British 
merchandise on board. By his Bayonne decree, he 
had sequestered all American vessels arriving in 
France, or in any port within the military contest, 
subsequent to the embargo, as British property or 
under British protection. When Louis of Holland 
refused to seize American ships at Amsterdam, 
Napoleon came to the conclusion that the former 
must abdicate and Holland be annexed to France. 
It was calculated that by the seizures in Amster- 
dam, Antwerp, Spain, France, Denmark, Ham- 
burg, Italy and Naples, more than ten miUions of 
dollars had been added to the revenues of France. 
Twenty years afterwards the United States re- 
ceived five million dollars as indemnity. 

Mr. Erskine, after his indiscreet proclamation, 
had been recalled from Washington, and Mr. Fran- 
cis Jackson had been sent there instead, but was 
but coolly received in Washington. In England this 
year, chaos reigned in politics. Mr. Perceval had 
succeeded the Duke of Portland, while Canning's 
place at the foreign office had been taken by the 
Marquis of Wellesley, who was scarcely on speak- 
ing terms with the first minister. Lords Liverpool, 
Bathurst, and Eldon were the other prominent 
members of the cabinet, and the young Viscount 


Palmerston became secretary of war. News from 
the Peninsula was not encouraging. Napoleon's 
armies were subduing Spain, while Wellington had 
retreated into Portugal. With defeat abroad and 
ruin at home, the prospects of England were ex- 
tremely dark. 

To return to Canada and General Brock — the 
letters of 1808-9 that have been preserved show his 
intense longing for service in Europe. His younger 
brother, Savery, had been with Moore in Spain, 
and his letters from there were eagerly looked for- 
ward to by his brother Isaac, who could scarcely 
bear in patience the inactive life he was forced to 
lead. He was ill and out of sorts. He writes of bad 
weather and heavy gales, that the frigate Iphigenie 
could scarcely have cleared the land, and that there 
were apprehensions for her safety. Her commander, 
Captain Lambert, had been in Quebec, and Brock 
writes: "I found him an exceedingly good fellow, 
and I have reason to think he is well satisfied with 
the attention he received from me." This was the 
Captain Lambert who was mortally wounded in 
December, 1812, while in command of the Java 
when it was captured by the American frigate 

Colonel Baron de Rottenburg, of the 60th, was 
now expected in Canada as a brigadier, and Brock 
thought his appointment would mean a change for 
him, as one or the other would have to go to the 
Upper Province, and de Rottenburg, being the senior, 



would have the choice. There seemed but Httle 
chance for Brock, much as he wished it, to return 
to Europe, while affairs with the United States 
were so unsettled. In his letter to his brother, he 
says: "I rejoice Savery has begun to exert himself 
to get me appointed to a more active situation. I 
must see service, or I may as well, or indeed much 
better, quit the army at once, for not one advantage 
can I reasonably look for hereafter if I remain 
buried in this inactive remote corner. Should Sir 
James Saumarez return from the Baltic crowned 
with success, he could, I should think, say a good 
word for me to some purpose." Sir Thomas Sau- 
marez, a brother of Sir James (Admiral Lord de 
Saumarez), had, in 1787, married Hamet, daughter 
of William Brock of Guernsey. One of Brock's 
confreres is mentioned in this letter as having just 
recovered from a severe illness. This was Colonel 
Vincent of the 49th, a soldier who was destined to 
take a very active part in the coming war. Vincent 
entered the army in 1781, served like Brock in the 
West Indies, and was also with him in the expedi- 
tion to Copenhagen under Sir Hyde Parker. 

In December, 1809, Brock writes to his brother 
William of the imminence of the war with the 
United States, and says: "Whatever steps England 
may adopt, I think she cannot in prudence avoid 
sending a strong military force to these provinces, 
as they are now become of infinite importance to 
her. You cannot conceive the quantities of timber 


and spars of all kinds which are lying on the beach 
ready for shipment to England in the spring. Four 
hundred vessels would not be sufficient to take all 
away. Whence will England be supplied with these 
essential articles but from the Canadas?" 

Brock had now been seven years in Canada, and 
had had an opportunity of witnessing the wonder- 
ful progress the country had made during those 
years. Formerly lumber for the use of the province 
had come chiefly from Vermont, but from 1806 the 
lumber trade in Canada had immensely increased, 
and attention was being given to its development. 
The condition of the Baltic had stopped supplies 
being sent from there, and had given an impetus to 
the trade in Canada. No one realized then the 
dimensions to which it was to grow. Shipbuilding, 
too, had increased. Hitherto the fur trade with the 
Indians had been the principal source of wealth in 
Canada, but now its illimitable forests were to be 
utilized. One evidence of its prosperity was the in- 
creased importation of British manufactures. Com- 
forts and luxuries were finding their way into the 
homes of the settlers. Roads were being built in all 
directions, and Sir James Craig made use of mili- 
tary labour in their construction. By the building 
of these roads provisions in the towns became more 
plentiful and cheaper. 

As to the French question in Canada, which was 
just then troubling the minds of the governor and 
his council, Brock believed that Napoleon coveted 



the ancient possessions of France, and that he could, 
with a small French force of four or five thousand 
men, with plenty of muskets, conquer the province. 
He thought the French Canadians would join them 
almost to a man, and he believed that if English- 
men were placed in the same situation they would 
show even more impatience to escape from French 
rule. He wrote in December: "The idea prevails 
that Napoleon must succeed, and ultimately get 
possession of these provinces. The bold and violent 
are becoming more audacious. The timid think it 
prudent to withdraw from the society of the Eng- 
Ush. Little intercourse exists between the two races. 
The governor, next month, will have a difficult card 
to play with the assembly, which is really getting 
too daring and arrogant." 

It was in January, 1810, that the new House 
met, and the governor opened it with a long 
address, referring to European affairs, to the cap- 
ture of Martinique, in which Sir George Prevost 
had taken part, and to the threatened war with the 
United States. He also announced that he was 
ready by His Majesty's pleasure to give his assent 
to the bill as to the inelegibility of judges having 
seats in the assembly. At that time Judge de Bonne 
was the member for the Upper Town of Quebec. 
The assembly brought in the bill, but it was 
amended by the Upper House by a clause that it 
should only come into effect at the end of the 
session. The assembly was defiant, and passed a 


resolution that de Bonne, being a judge, should not 
vote. This was carried. The governor, accustomed 
to camps and ready obedience to his orders, could 
not brook the insubordination of his members, and 
with soldier-like promptness came down and pro- 
rogued the House, and told the members he meant 
to appeal to the people and have a new election. In 
dismissing them Sir James Craig lamented the 
measure that excluded men from the House who 
were so eminently fitted for it as were the judges. 
The governor was well received at his entrance and 
departure from the council chamber, and addresses 
of approval were sent him from many places. It 
was thought that the assembly was trying to as- 
sume too much power. 

If Sir James Craig had done no more than this, 
the flame that he had kindled among the French 
Canadians might soon have been extinguished. He, 
however, proceeded to stronger measures. Because 
Le Canadien continued to publish what he con- 
sidered inflammatory articles, criticizing his con- 
duct and that of the executive, he sent, on March 
17th, a party of troops with a magistrate and two 
constables to its office, seized the press, and com- 
mitted the printers to gaol. The city was then put 
under military patrol, as if a rising were contemp- 
lated. After an examination of the papers found on 
the premises, Messrs. Bedard, Blanchet, and Tas- 
chereau were arrested on a warrant under the act 
for the better preservation of His Majesty's govern- 



ment. There were three other arrests made in the 
Montreal district — Laforce, Pierre Papineau (of 
Chambly), and Corbeil. Then the governor issued a 
long proclamation, which ended with a caution not 
to listen to the artful suggestions of designing and 
wicked men, who, by the spreading of false reports 
and by seditious and traitorous writing, ascribed to 
His Majesty's government evil and malicious pur- 
poses. There was a pathetic touch given to this 
proclamation by its closing words : "Is it for my- 
self, then, I should oppress you ? For what should I 
oppress you? Is it from ambition? What can you 
give me ? Alas ! my good friends, with a life ebbing 
not slowly to its close, under the pressure of dis- 
ease acquired in the service of my country, I look 
only to pass what it may please God to suffer to 
remain of it, in the comfort of retirement among 
my friends. I remain amongst you only in obedi- 
ence to the command of my king." 

Blanchet and Taschereau were discharged from 
prison in July, as they pleaded ill-health. The 
printer was also discharged, and the men from 
Montreal, but Bedard, an influential and eloquent 
member of the assembly, declined to be liberated 
without having been brought to trial. He said that 
he had done nothing wrong, that he did not care 
how long he was kept in prison, and applied for a 
writ of habeas co?^pus. This was all very embarras- 
sing to the government, who would have much 
preferred to release him. Many petitions were sent 


in on his behalf, and the governor at last sent for 
Bedard's brother, a priest, saying that he would 
consent to his being set free if he would not resume 
his attempts to disturb public tranquillity. Bedard 
sent his thanks, and said that if any man could 
convince him that he had been at fault it was the 
governor, but as that conviction must arise in his 
own mind he must be content to submit to his fate. 
So he remained in gaol. 

Sir James Craig now determined to send an 
agent to London to propose certain changes in the 
constitution by which the power of the Crown 
would be increased. He also wished to obtain the 
approval of the home government as to the sup- 
pression of Le Canadien, and the arrest of the 
members of its staff. Mr. Ryland was selected as 
the messenger. He arrived in London in August, 

In the previous May the governor, in his de- 
spatch to the home government, said that the 
French and the English did not hold any inter- 
course; that among the Canadian community the 
name of Britain was held in contempt; that the 
Canadians were sunk in gross ignorance; that they 
were drunken, saucy to their betters, and cowards 
in battle; and as for their religion, the CathoHc 
clergy ought to be put under the Anglican hier- 
archy; their peculiar faith made them enemies of 
Britain and friendly to France — yes, even to Bona- 
parte himself, since the Concordat. Sir James then 



praised his legislative council, whom he described 
as composed of the most respectable personages in 
the colony, while, on the contrary, the assembly 
was made up of very ignorant individuals, incap- 
able of discussing rationally a subject of any import. 
He also informed the government that the anti- 
British party was becoming more audacious in con- 
sequence of Napoleon's successes in Europe, and 
that its members were doing all they could to bring 
about the loss of Canada to Great Britain. 




IN July, 1810, Brock was still in Quebec. He 
writes from there to his brother Irving, thank- 
ing him for executing some commissions for him in 
London. All had arrived safely with the exception 
of "a cocked hat," and not receiving it was a most 
distressing circumstance, "as," he added, "from the 
enormity of my head I find the utmost difficulty in 
getting a substitute in this country." 

General Brock was most anxious to go to Eng- 
land, but had almost given up the thought. Several 
events of a disturbing nature had occurred in the 
upper country, and it was agreed that he should 
be sent there, whether temporarily or permanently 
it was not decided. If a senior brigadier should come 
out he would certainly himself be fixed in Upper 
Canada. With a httle bitterness, not often noticed 
in his correspondence, he writes: "Since all my 
efforts to get more actively employed have failed; 
since fate decrees that the best portion of my life 
is to be wasted in inaction in the Canadas, I am 
rather pleased with the prospect of removing up- 
wards." He writes in his letter of July 10th that 
three hundred vessels have already arrived in Que- 
bec. A Guernsey vessel had come, bringing, much 



to his delight, letters from his brother Savery, who, 
after Sir John Moore's death, had returned home. 
The May fleet which had arrived from Portsmouth 
in thirty days (a very quick passage) had brought 
nothing for him — "not the scrape of a pen." His 
brother Irving was then in London, writing political 
pamphlets, which seem to have pleased his brother 
very much. He writes: "You have taken a very 
proper view of the political discussions which at 
this moment disgrace England. . . . Those to whom 
I have allowed a perusal, and who are infinitely 
better judges than I can be, speak of the purity of 
the language in terms of high approbation. I am 
all anxiety for your literary fame." 

Quebec seems to have been particularly gay at 
this time, in spite of wi-angles with the governor on 
the part of some of the inhabitants. Two frigates 
were at anchor in the harbour, and the arrival of 
Lieutenant-Governor Gore and his wife from the 
Upper Province had given a zest to the gaiety. 
There were races and country and water parties, a 
continual round of festivity. Brock remarks: "Such 
stimulus is necessary to keep our spirits afloat. I 
wish I could boast a little more patience." We read 
that General Brock contributed to the festivities by 
giving a grand dinner in honour of Mrs. Gore, at 
which Sir James Craig was present ; and also a ball 
to a "vast assemblage" of the beau monde of the 

In the midst of the gaiety he received his orders 


to depart for the Upper Province, to remain there if 
another brigadier should arrive in Quebec. He was 
puzzled what to do with his possessions. If he left 
them behind he would be miserably off, as he wrote: 
"Nothing but eatables can be obtained there, and 
the expense will be ruinous if I move everything 
and then am ordered back. But I must submit to 
all without repining, and since I cannot get to 
Europe I care little where I am placed. I leave the 
most delightful garden imaginable, with abundance 
of melons and other good things." 

He found time before he left to do an act of 
kindness to one of the soldiers of the 49th, an act 
so natural in him to those who served under him. 
He writes: "I have prevailed upon Sir James to 
appoint Sergeant Robinson, master of the band, to 
a situation in the commissariat at Sorel, worth 
three and sixpence a day, with subaltern lodging, 
money and other allowances. He married a Jersey 
lass, whose relations may enquire for him." 

He tells his sister that he means to procure in 
the autumn handsome skins to make muffs for his 
two young nieces, Maria and Zelia Potenger. He 
wants "the two dear Httle girls" to write to him, 
and bids them appreciate the advantages they are 
receiving as to education, so different "from this 
colony, where the means for education for both 
sexes are very limited." 

By September, 1810, Brigadier- General Brock is 
settled at Fort George, and a chatty letter from 



the Adjutant- General, Colonel Baynes, tells him 
what is happening in Quebec — ^how Baron de Rot- 
tenburg had arrived, and although a year older than 
Sir James Craig (who was sixty), looked a much 
younger man; how his wife, Madame de Rotten- 
burg, had made a complete conquest of all hearts. 
She was remarkably handsome both in face and 
figure, and her manners were pleasing, graceful and 
affable. She was much younger than her husband, 
and they both spoke English very well, with but a 
slight foreign accent. Sir James Craig was reported 
as being very well, and his sixtieth birthday had 
just been celebrated at a very pleasant party at 
Powell Place. Colonel Baynes told Brock that 
there had just been a court-martial on some de- 
serters. Two, one of them a Canadian, had been 
sentenced to be shot; the others, a dozen in num- 
ber, were to be sentenced to be transported to serve 
for life in Africa. 

Brock wi'ites to his brother in September, from 
Fort George, a very homesick letter. He says: "At 
present, Vincent, Glegg, and Williams enliven this 
lonesome place. They are here on a court-martial, 
but will soon depart, and 1 will be left to my own 
reflections. I hope to obtain leave after Christmas. 
The arrival of Baron de Rottenburg has, I think, 
diminished my prospect of advancement in this 
country. I should stand, evidently, in my own 
light if I did not court fortune elsewhere." 

He had taken a trip to Detroit which he thought 


had most delightful surroundings, far exceeding 
anything he had seen on the continent. "As to the 
manners of the American people, I do not admire 
them at all. I have met with some whose society 
was everything one could desire, and at Boston and 
New York such characters are, I believe, numerous, 
but these are the exceptions." He had not had 
a letter from Europe since May. He continues, 
** I wish you would write to me by way of New 
York. I avail myself of an unexpected passenger to 
scribble this in presence of many of the court, who 
tell me it is time to resume our labours, therefore, 
my beloved brother, adieu." 

A list still remains of the books which helped 
to enliven his solitude at Niagara.^ Among them 
one finds Johnson's Works, twelve volumes ; Reed's 
and Bell's Editions of Shakespeare ; Plutarch's Lives; 
Hume's Essays; Arthur on Courts' Martial; Rollins' 
Ancient History; Marshall's Travels ; Life of Conde; 
Wharton's Virgil ; Francis's Horace ; Gregory's Dic- 
tionary of Arts and Sciences ; Pope's Works ; Ex- 
pedition to Holland ; Siecle de Louis Quatorze ; Gui- 
bert's (Euvres Mihtaires; Reglement de I'lnfanterie; 
Aventures de Tel^maque; Voltaire's La Henriade; 
Walcheren Expedition ; Erudition MiUtaire; King of 
Prussia's Tactics; European Magazine; Edinburgh 
Review; Memoirs of Talleyrand; Wolfe's Orders; 

^ Dr. James Bain, of the Public Library, Toronto, discovered this 
list amongst some old papers left in the residence of the late Hon. 
G. W. Allan. 



Reflexions sur les Preguges Militaires; Hume's 
Works. He writes to his brother, "I read much, but 
good books are scarce, and I hate borrowing, I like 
to read a book quickly and afterwards revert to such 
passages as have made the deepest impression and 
which appear to me important to remember, a 
practice I cannot conveniently pursue unless the 
book is mine. Should you find that I am likely 
to remain here I wish you to send me some choice 
authors in history, particularly ancient history, with 
maps, and the best translation of ancient works. I 
read in my youth Pope's translation of Homer, but 
till lately never discovered its exquisite beauties. 
I firmly believe the same propensity was always 
inherent in me, but strange to tell, although many 
were paid extravagantly, I never had the advantage 
of a master to guide and encourage me. I rejoice 
that my nephews are more fortunate." 

Brock's application for leave was not favourably 
received by Sir James Craig, who was strongly im- 
pressed with the necessity of having some one like 
him in the Upper Province to correct the errors and 
neglect that had crept in there. Baynes writes : " In 
confidence between ourselves, I do not think he 
will be more ready to part with you in consequence 
of the arrival of Colonel Murray, who is not at 
all to his taste." It seems that Colonel (afterwards 
the distinguished Major-General Murray), had of- 
fended the governor at a dinner by warmly espousing 
and defending the opinions of Cobbett respecting 


German troops and foreign officers, although sitting 
opposite to Baron de Rottenburg. 

Baynes writes that Brock's successor, the baron, 
was a good kind of man and devoted to his pro- 
fession, " but," he continues, " it would be vain to 
attempt to describe the genuine admiration and 
estimation of his cava dolce sposa. Young, only 
twenty-three — fair, beautiful, lively, discreet, witty, 
affable — in short, so engaging, or rather, so fascin- 
ating that neither my courier nor my paper will 
admit of my doing her justice. Nevertheless the 
charms of madame have not effaced you from 
the recollection of your friends, who very sincerely 
regret your absence." 

He reports that two hundred volunteers for 
Colonel Zouch, from other veteran battalions, had 
arrived and landed. The regiment was to be com- 
pleted in this manner to one thousand. 

Baynes writes again about Brock's leave and 
says that he had talked with the commander-in- 
chief, who expressed his desire to forward his views, 
but said that he had been contending so long for 
the necessity of a third general officer being kept 
constantly on the staff of the Canadas, that he 
did not feel at liberty to overset the arrangement 
which he had been two years soliciting. When he 
(Baynes), said that Brock regretted inaction, and 
looked with envy on those employed in Spain 
and Portugal, the governor replied, " I make no 
doubt of it ; but I can in no shape aid his plans 



in that respect." " If he hked you less," Baynes 
continued, " he might perhaps be more readily 
induced to let you go." 

Brock had taken a great interest in an old 
veteran, formerly in the 8th, or King's, the regiment 
in which he had begun his military life, and in 
which his brother John had served. Colonel Baynes 
writes, '* I have not failed to communicate to Sir 
James your account of and your charity towards 
the poor old fellow. He has in consequence directed 
the allowance of the ration to be authorized and 
continued to him ; but I am to remind you of 
the danger of establishing a precedent of this nature, 
and to request, in the general's name, that you 
will refrain as much as possible from indulging the 
natural benevolence of your disposition in this way, 
as he has hitherto resisted all applications of this 

At this time, early in 1811, Lieutenant-Governor 
Gore was contemplating a visit to England, and 
there was some correspondence between him and 
General Brock about the location of a grant of five 
thousand acres of land that had been made some 
years before to Colonel Vesey. Brock had promised 
the latter to arrange about it before the lieutenant- 
governor left Canada, and wrote that there were 
tracts of excellent land on Lake Erie belonging 
to the Crown, and also that a new township was 
being surveyed near the head of Lake Ontario, 
either of which situations would be eligible. The 


lieutenant-governor replied that it was not in his 
power to comply with Colonel Vesey's wish in 
respect of location without a special order from the 
king, as in the case of Colonel Talbot, and that it 
was impossible in any township to obtain five 
thousand acres in a block. 

The lieutenant-governor remarked in his letter 
that he thought President Madison's address very 
hostile to England, but that congress would hesi- 
tate before consenting to go the length he proposes. 
** Taking forcible possession of West Florida may 
provoke a war sooner than any other act. It is 
impossible to foresee how this may be viewed by 
the Cortez." 

As to Florida, a convention of American citizens 
settled near the borders of West Florida, had 
attacked the Spanish fort at Baton Rouge, and 
announced that country to be a free and inde- 
pendent state. The leader of the convention then 
wrote to the secretary of state, urging that it 
should be annexed to the United States, but claim- 
ing all public lands for themselves. In reply the 
president sent a sharp message to the revolutionary 
convention saying that their independence was 
an impertinence and their design on public lands 
something worse. He also issued a proclamation 
announcing that Governor Claiborne would take 
possession of West Florida. The military occupation 
of the country was, in fact, an act of war against 
Spain, but that kingdom which had once held sway 



over two American continents, from the sources 
of the Missouri and the Mississippi, to the borders 
of Patagonia, was powerless to resist.^ 

Letters of this date speak of the awful suspense 
felt in England while the armies of Wellington and 
Massena were in such close proximity, and the 
latter was advancing on the lines of Torres Vedras 
to drive the English army into the sea. They speak, 
too, of the sad illness of the old king, who after 
the death of the Princess Amelia had relapsed into 
hopeless insanity. Brock writes, " If we are to be 
governed by a regent I trust that ambition, jealousy 
or party interests, will not conspire to diminish 
or circumscribe his regal powers." 

He writes to his brother, Irving Brock, that he 
had seen " Thoughts on Political Transactions," in 
answer to his admirable pamphlet, and remarks 
that the author appears to proclaim his servile 
attachment to Bonaparte without in any way re- 
futing his (Irving's) arguments. 

Another notable man among General Brock's 
friends writes to him in January. This was Colonel 
Kempt, afterwards General Sir James Kempt, 
G.C.B., governor-general of British America. 

Colonel Kempt was at this time quartermaster- 
general in Canada, and had, under Sir James Craig, 

^ As to the occupation of Florida, Monroe declared that no satisfac- 
tion had been made by Spain for spoliation on the commerce of the 
United States in 1798-9, nor for denying to the United States the right 
of deposit at New Orleans. He also contended that West Florida was a 
part of Louisiana, which had been acquired by purchase from France. 



superintended the building of roads and bridges in 
the Lower Province. In November, 1811, he was 
made local major-general in Spain and Portugal. 
He afterwards served on the staff in America and 
in Flanders. He was made a K.C.B. in January, 
1815, was wounded at Waterloo, and was then 
promoted to be a Grand Cross. The sovereigns 
of Austria, Russia and the Netherlands also decor- 
ated him for his services. In 1820 he was governor 
of Nova Scotia in place of the Earl of Dalhousie, 
whom he succeeded as governor-general of Canada. 
He died in England after a long and glorious 
career, at the age of ninety. 

Colonel Kempt wrote to Brock on the subject of 
his leave. He assured him that he had no reason to 
dread being unemployed in any rank while he 
wished to serve. " This opinion, my dear general," 
he writes, "is not given rashly or upon sHght 
grounds — before I came to this country I had, you 
must know, several opportunities of hearing your 
name mentioned at head-quarters, both by General 
Calvert and Colonel Gordon, who unquestionably 
spoke the sentiment of the then commander-in- 
chief, and in such a way as to impress me with 
a thorough conviction that few officers of your rank 
stood higher in their estimation. In short, I have no 
manner of doubt whatever that you will readily 
obtain employment upon active service the moment 
that you do get home, and with this view I recom- 
mend you to express, through Baynes, your sense 



of His Excellency's good intentions and wishes to 
you in respect to leave of absence, and your hopes 
that when the circumstances of the country are 
such as will permit him to grant six months' leave 
to a general officer, that this indulgence will be 
extended in the first instance to you. 

" I am very happy that you are pleased with 
Mrs. Murray. I have just received a long letter 
from her, giving me an account of a splendid 
ball given by you to the beau inonde of Niagara and 
its vicinity. The manner in which she speaks of 
your liberality and hospitality reminds me of the 
many pleasant hours I have passed under your roof. 
We have no such parties now. Sir James being ill 
prevents the usual public days at the Castle, and 
nothing more stupid than Quebec now is can 
be imagined." 

The Mrs. Murray mentioned in this letter was a 
cousin of Colonel Kempt. Brock, in one of his 
letters from Fort George, says, " Colonel Murray 
of the 100th went home last year and brought out 
a charming little wife, full of good sense and spirit. 
They dined with me yesterday." A letter from 
Colonel Baynes also mentions receiving a letter 
from Murray, and he congratulates General Brock 
on having found means to enliven the solitary scene 
that had so long prevailed at Fort George. 

Letters from home had cheered the general's 
heart. "What can 1 say," he writes, "from this 
remote corner in return for the pleasure I experience 


at the receipt of your letters." He speaks of his life 
as sombre, and yet thinks that the enforced quiet 
has done his health good. He begs his brother 
Irving to dispel all fears about him. 

He had just returned in February from York, 
where he had spent ten days with the lieutenant- 
governor, whom he pronounces "as generous and 
honest a being as ever existed." He found Mrs. 
Gore perfectly well and very agreeable. Their so- 
ciety, he said, was ample compensation for travel- 
ling over the worst roads he had ever met with. He 
and the governor, who had formerly been quartered 
with the 44th in Guernsey, had talked over old days 
in the Channel Islands, and had recalled with 
pleasure the simple hospitality that reigned there, 
and the charming society of Guernsey and Jersey, 
"where, although there was httle communication 
with England, there were always officers in the 
garrison to be entertained." 

Brock writes of the reports from New York as to 
the many failures there, and says, "Merchants there 
are in a state of great confusion and dismay. A 
dreadful crash is not far off." 

The news he had received from Quebec was 
that Sir James had triumphed completely over the 
French faction in the I^ower Province, and that the 
House of Assembly had passed every bill required 
of it, among others, one authorizing the governor- 
general and three councillors to imprison any one 
without assigning a cause. 



The House of Assembly at Quebec had met on 
December 10th, 1810, and the inaugural address 
had been very conciliatory. The governor did not 
allude to any vexed questions, but protested that 
he had never doubted the loyalty and zeal of 
the previous assemblies he had convoked. In reply, 
the assembly observed, ** We shall earnestly concur 
in all that is done tending to the maintenance 
of unbroken tranquillity, a state all the more diffi- 
cult to preserve in this province as those who 
inhabit it cherish a diversity of ideas, habitudes and 
prejudices, not easy to reconcile." 

The governor justified the acts committed as to 
imprisonment of members, and said that only those 
who had too much reason to dread the law inclined 
to object to its potency, and the united clamour of 
such might have deceived the assembly as to their 
real number. 

In the meantime the vexatious Bedard still re- 
mained in prison. The assembly drew up an address 
on his behalf, and the elder Papineau had an 
interview on the subject with the governor at 
the Castle. The latter in his reply to M. Papineau, 
said: "It is the common discourse of the assembly 
that they intend to oblige me to release M. Bddard. 
I think, therefore, that it is time the people should 
be made to understand the rightful limits of the 
several powers in the state, and that the House, 
while it represents, yet has no right to directly 
govern the country." 


The session passed peacefully, and at its close, 
when all the members had returned to their homes, 
Bedard was quietly and unconditionally released by 
the executive. It was the last public act of Sir 
James Craig's administration. 

The act which had been the cause of so much 
trouble, namely that of excluding the judges from 
the assembly, was one of the laws passed, and 
strange to say, in proroguing the House, the gov- 
ernor said, "Among the acts to which I have just 
declared His Majesty's assent, there is one which 
I have seen with peculiar satisfaction. I mean the 
act for disqualifying the judges from holding a seat 
in the House of Assembly." 

The opinions of the official and military class as 
to the proceedings of the House, may be gathered 
from a letter of Colonel Baynes to Brock, in March. 
" You will see by Sir James' speech the very 
complete triumph his firmness and energy have 
obtained over the factious cabal of this most con- 
temptible assembly. Bedard will shortly be released. 
That fellow alone of the whole gang has nerve, and 
does not want ability or inclination to do mischief 
whenever opportunity offers ; the rest, old Papi- 
neau and the blustering B. (Bourdages), are all 
white livered renegades to a man ; but when Sir 
James' back is turned they will rally and commence 
the same bullying attack on his successor, who, 
I trust, will follow his example." 

In the meantime, Mr. Ryland in England had 



not found his task an easy one, nor had he met with 
the reception he had hoped for. Mr. Perceval, the 
prime minister. Lord Liverpool, the minister of 
war, and Mr. Robert Peel, the under secretary for 
the colonies, received him with perfect courtesy, 
and asked many questions, but Mr. Ryland made 
no progress in his design of changing the con- 
stitution. One point he particularly wished to press, 
namely, the necessity of controlhng the patronage 
of the Roman Catholic Church so that the clergy 
would be on the government side. The assembly 
in its session of 1810, had offered to undertake the 
expenses of the civil government hitherto borne 
by England. Ryland's scheme was to take possession 
of the Jesuit estates and also of those of the semin- 
ary at Montreal. From these he proposed to grant 
a certain sum for education, and to apply the rest 
to the civil government, and thus do away with the 
necessity of supplies being voted by the assembly. 
In fact, his intention was to break the power of the 
Roman Cathohc Church in Canada by taking away 
its endowments. Mr. Ryland also proposed that the 
province should revert to government by the legis- 
lative council without the assembly, as it was pre- 
vious to the Canada Act. 

Lord Liverpool was afraid, if the act of 1791 was 
annulled, that Lord Grenville, the father of the act, 
would rally his followers in favour of the French 
Canadians. He suggested a redivision of constitu- 
encies so as to obtain a greater number of English 


representatives, and also thought that members 
might be concihated by other means. 

Several matters were referred to the attorney- 
general, who said that it was possible for parliament 
to unite the two provinces under a single govern- 
ment, but that he thought no new division could be 
made of electoral districts, nor in the number of 
representatives. As to the question of Le Cana- 
dien, the ministers did not think the passages 
quoted from it were strong enough to fix on its 
publishers a charge of treason, and it might be 
difficult, they thought, to justify what had been 
done in the matter of their arrest and imprison- 
ment. They were inclined to call the passages quoted 
seditious libels. The extreme measures taken were, 
perhaps, excusable, but not strictly justifiable. In 
fact, the attorney-general said that such an arbitrary 
measure as the suppression of Le Canadien would 
not have been tolerated in England. 

Mr. Ryland's mission was a failure, but in order 
to conceal his discomfiture he decided to remain in 
England for the winter, nor did he return to Canada 
until the spring of 1812. In the meantime this poor 
governor's health broke down utterly. General Brock 
wrote in March, 1811: "Sir James cannot long sur- 
vive the frequent attacks of his disorder. His death 
will be bewailed by all who possess the feelings of 
Englishmen in this country." 




EARLY in 1811 there was some correspondence 
between Sir James Craig and General Brock 
as to the treatment of the Indians. The question 
was, whether in case of hostihties breaking out as 
threatened between the Americans and the Indians, 
the latter should be supplied, as usual, with arms 
and ammunition by the British. No doubt the 
Americans would expect a strict neutrality to be 
observed; but by stopping suppHes, Brock thought 
the British might lose all their influence over the 
tribes. There had been a council held in which 
the chiefs had resolved to go to war with the 
Americans, and they seemed to have had a firm 
conviction that although they could not expect 
active cooperation, yet they might rely on receiving 
from the British the requisites of war. 

They had suffered much of late. Napoleon's de- 
crees and the English orders-in-council had put 
a stop to their trade in furs. They could obtain 
nothing for their peltries, for the warehouses of the 
great companies were filled with costly furs for 
which there was no market. The Americans, too, 
of late had encroached more and more on their 
hunting-grounds. It had been tacitly understood 



in the treaty of 1783 that the Indian country west 
of the Ohio was to be left to the tribes, but on one 
pretence and another, by strategy and persuasion, 
different Indian tribes had been induced to sell their 
lands for a nominal price, and were being pushed 
further and further back from the plains and forests 
and rivers which gave them their sustenance. One 
chief had foreseen the doom that awaited them, 
and planned to avert it. This was Tecumseh, a 
Shawanese warrior and statesman. He dreamed of 
a confederation of all the tribes of North America, 
in order to regain, if possible, their old boun- 
daries, and to resist the further encroachments of 
the white race. 

The Indians knew quite well the unsettled re- 
lations between the United States and England, 
and had not made up their minds in 1811 as to 
which country they would ally themselves to. They 
had been threatened with retaliation on their wives 
and children if they dared to serve the British. 

Tecumseh was willing to be friendly to the 
United States if the latter would agree to give up 
some lands lately purchased, and would agree not 
to enter into treaties without the consent of all the 
tribes. Tecumseh pledged himself on these con- 
ditions to be a faithful ally to the United States 
and to assist them in war against the English, 
otherwise he would enter into an English alliance. 
At an interview with General Harrison, when he 
was told that the matter rested with the president, 


Tecumseh replied: " If the great chief is to decide 
the matter I hope the Great Spirit will put sense 
enough in his head to induce him to direct you 
to give up the land. It is true he is so far off he 
will not be injured by the war. He may sit still 
in his town and drink his wine, while you and I 
will have to fight it out." The demands of Tecum- 
seh as to lands and treaties were not complied with, 
therefore he summoned his people to go to war 
against the Americans. 

Brock wrote in February as to the recent distri- 
bution of stores among the tribes. " Our cold at- 
tempt to dissuade that much injured people from 
engaging in such a rash enterprise could scarcely 
be expected to prevail, particularly after . giving 
such manifest indications of a contrary sentiment, 
by the Hberal quantity of military stores with which 
they were dismissed." For information about them, 
General Brock said he had to rely on the reports of 
officers commanding at the outposts, as "the lieu- 
tenant-governor witholds all communication on the 

The management of the Indians was in the hands 
of the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, and 
agents were employed by him to administer their 
affairs. Mr. Elliott was then in charge at Amherst- 
burg. Brock speaks of him as an exceedingly good 
man, who having lived much among the Indians, 
sympathized with their wrongs, but he thought that 
he was rather biased and prejudiced in their favour. 



The general was of the opinion, however, that if 
Mr. Elliott had delayed giving them presents until 
he reported their mission to lieutenant- Governor 
Gore, they would have returned to their companions 
with different impressions as to the sentiments of 

The instructions issued by Lord Dorchester in 
1790 were continued in full force. The charge of 
the Indian department was vested in the civil ad- 
ministration, and Brock thought this led to con- 
fusion. Vast numbers of Indians assembled every 
year at Amherstburg from a great distance. Brock 
said he had seen eight hundred waiting for a month 
on rations for the presents to come, and he thought 
the storekeeper-general in Upper Canada ought to 
be allowed to buy them in case they did not reach 
the Upper Provinces before the close of navigation. 

In March Brock writes to Major Taylor of the 
100th Regiment, commanding at Amherstburg, and 
the first sentence is a reproof to that officer for not 
having reported to him the important resolution by 
which the Indians formally announced their inten- 
tion of going to war with the Americans. He had 
learnt of it from another source and had reported it 
to the commander-in-chief. He then gave Major 
Taylor an extract from His Excellency's secret and 
confidential answer, which especially enjoined on 
all military officers to report at once to General 
Brock whatever transpired at any councils of the 
Indians at which they might be present. 


Sir James Craig was of the opinion that every 
effort should be made to prevent a rupture be- 
tween the Indians and the United States. General 
Brock therefore advised Major Taylor that if he 
perceived the smallest indication to depart from the 
line so strongly laid down by His Excellency, he 
should offer friendly advice to the officers of the 
government in charge of Indian affairs, and even 
have recourse to written protests to deter them 
from persevering m any act that might irritate and 
dispose the two nations to a conflict. Brock adds, 
"This you must do as coming from yourself, and 
report circumstantially every occurrence that may 
come to your knowledge." 

It was not for some months after this that actual 
hostilities broke out, and the accusation was then 
formally made in congress, that by supplying some 
of the tribes with arms, ammunition and food, 
the British had aided the Indians in their warlike 

In April Colonel Vesey writes from England and 
thanks General Brock for the interesting details 
he had given him of local politics, both civil and 
military, in Canada, although the colonel expresses 
himself as not partial to that country, and he re- 
grets that the 49th should be detained there so 
long. He condoles with the general on the lonely 
winter he must have passed at Fort George, in 
spite of the companionship of Colonel Murray and 
his nice little wife. He adds, " Pray remember me 



to my old friend St. George. Mrs. Vesey has charged 
me to call her to your recollection. She and my six 
children are as well as possible, and a very nice 
little group they are, all as healthy as can be. I 
wish I had a daughter old enough for you, as I 
would give her to you with pleasure. You should 
be married, particularly as fate seems to detain you 
so long in Canada, but pray, do not marry there." 

There is a legend, not confirmed, that General 
Brock at this time was engaged to a " lady living 
at York " ; but no hint of this is shown in his 
letters, and it seems improbable, in his position, 
that if it were the case, nothing should be said of it 
by contemporaries. 

In another letter Colonel Vesey thanks him for 
the interest he had taken in procuring for him his 
grant of land. He adds, " I quite feel for you, my 
good friend, when I think of the stupid and un- 
interesting time you must have passed in Upper 
Canada. With your ardour for professional employ- 
ment in the field, it must have been very painful. 
Had you returned to Europe there is little doubt 
but that you would have been immediately em- 
ployed in Portugal; and as that service has turned 
out so very creditable, I regret very much that you 
had not deserted from Canada. I take it for granted 
that you will not stay there long, and should the 
fortune of war bring us again upon duty in the 
same country, I need not say how I shall hail the 
event with joy. If you come to England, I would wish 


you to call upon the Duke of Kent, who has a high 
respect for you and will be happy to see you. The 
Duke of York is to return to the army. Sir David 
Dundas will not be much regretted." 

A letter from Colonel Baynes in March reports 
that Sir James Craig, owing to extreme ill-health, 
was to return to England early in the summer. He 
wished to be relieved from the anxiety of his office, 
which, now that a war with the United States 
seemed probable, was too onerous a position. For 
himself, his mind was made up, and he was re- 
signed to a speedy termination of his sufferings. 

Communication was so slow between Upper and 
Lower Canada that many of Colonel Baynes's let- 
ters were transmitted through the United States. 
At that time there was only a post once a fortnight 
between Montreal and Kingston, and from the 
latter place to York and Fort George the post was 
scarcely established at all, and letters came at un- 
certain intervals. Colonel Baynes's letter contained 
the last wishes of the commander-m-chief with 
regard to Brock. "I assure you," he writes, "Sir 
James is very far from being indifferent in regard 
to forwarding your wishes, but from the necessity 
of returning himself, and that without waiting for 
leave, he feels it the more necessary to leave the 
country in the best state of security he can. He 
desires me to say that he regrets extremely the 
disappointment you may experience, and he re- 
quests that you will do him the favour to accept as 



a legacy, and as a mark of his very sincere regard, 
his favourite horse 'Alfred,' and that he is induced 
to send him to you, not only from wishing to secure 
to his old favourite a kind and careful master, but 
from the conviction that the whole continent of 
America could not furnish you with so safe and 
excellent a horse. * Alfred' is ten years old, but 
being high bred, and latterly but very little used, 
may be considered as still perfectly fresh. Sir James 
will give him up to Heriot whenever you fix the 
manner of his being forwarded to you. Kempt goes 
home with His Excellency." 

Sir James Craig left Canada on June 19th, 1811, 
in the frigate Amelia. Although his administration 
was known afterwards among certain of the popu- 
lation of Lower Canada as the "reign of terror," 
he was yet beloved by many and respected by all. 
Even his enemies gave him credit for the purity 
of his motives, and no one doubted his courage, 
straightforwardness, and devotion to duty. He is 
described as being "of agreeable countenance and 
impressive presence. Stout and rather below the 
middle height, he was yet manly and dignified. He 
was positive in his opinions and decided in his 
measures. Although hasty in temper he was not 
implacable, and was easily reconciled to those who 
incurred his displeasure. Hospitable and princely in 
his style of living, he was yet a friend of the poor 
and destitute." He did not long survive his depar- 
ture, but died in London the following March. 


When he left Canada, Mr. Thomas Dunn, the 
senior member of the council, was again left in 
charge of the civil government, while Lieutenant- 
General Drummondc, who was one step higher than 
General Brock in the service, was left in command 
of the forces in the Canadas. 

On June 4th of this year Brigadier- General 
Brock was made a major-general on the staff of 
North America His friend Vesey, who had also 
been made a major-general, writes his congratula- 
tions to him on June 10th, and says: "It may, 
perhaps, be your fate to go to the Mediterranean, 
but the Peninsula is the most direct road to the 
honour of the Bath, and as you are an ambitious 
man, that is the station you would prefer. As it is 
possible you may have left Canada, I will enclose 
this letter to our friend Bruy^res." Lieutenant- 
Colonel Bruyeres was an officer in the Royal En- 
gineers, and was at that time engaged in reportmg 
to General Brock on the condition of the different 
forts scattered throughout Upper Canada. 

In September, 1811, Sir George Prevost arrived, 
and assumed the chief command of British North 
America. His military reputation then stood high, 
and he had been much liked in Nova Scotia, where 
his administration had been a success. Sir George 
was born at New York on May 19th, ITGTo His 
father was a native of Geneva who became a 
major-general in the British army, served under 
Wolfe at Quebec, was wounded there, and after- 



wards distinguished himself in the defence of Sa- 
vannah. His mother was a Swiss, the daughter of 
M. Grand of Lausanne. Sir George was heutenant- 
colonel of the 60th Regiment, and had served in 
the West Indies. He greatly distinguished himself 
at St. Vincent, where he was dangerously wounded. 
In reward for his services he was made governor of 
Dominica, which he had successfully defended. He 
returned to England in 1805, when he w^as ap- 
pointed lieutenant-governor of Portsmouth. He 
was then promoted to be lieutenant-general and 
lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, and in the 
same year, 1808, was second in command at the 
capture of Martinique. He then returned to Nova 
Scotia, where he remained until called upon to 
take the place of Sir James Craig. His appoint- 
ment gave great satisfaction to the French Cana- 
dians, and he began his administration by very 
conciliatory measures„ The man whom his prede- 
cessor had imprisoned as a promoter of sedition 
(M. Bedard), was appointed to a judgeship at 
Three Rivers. Mo Bourdages, another adversary of 
the late governor, was made a colonel of militia, 
and all the officers who had been dismissed from 
the militia were re-instated. Speaking French as his 
mother tongue. Sir George Prevost's knowledge of 
their language aided hnn in gaining the confidence 
of the people, and he very judiciously began by 
professing perfect belief in the loyalty of the 


News came from England to Brock that his 
friend General Kempt had had a very flattering re- 
ception there, and that the Duke of York had told 
him he would give him a carte blanche as to his 
future destination. Colonel Thornton, another of 
Brock's friends, had been appointed to a regiment, 
one battahon of which was in Portugal, the other 
in the East Indies. Thornton hoped to persuade 
his senior to go to India, leaving him in Portu- 
gal. He sends a message by Colonel Baynes to his 
friends in Canada. "Pray give a hint in private to 
General Brock and Sheaffe that if the former were 
to ask for a brigade at home or on European ser- 
vice, and the latter to be put on the staff in Can- 
ada, I am almost certain they would succeed." 

No wonder Brock pined at inaction while his 
more fortunate friends were leaving him far behind 
in the race for glory. It was not glory alone that his 
ardent soul desired, but a chance to use the powers 
that he knew were his. The chance was nearer than 
he thought, and he found it in the common path of 
duty. Soon after Sir George Prevost's arrival in Can- 
ada as governor-general and commander-in-chief, 
Major-General Brock was appointed president and 
administrator of the government of Upper Canada 
during Lieutenant-Governor Gore's absence in Eng- 
land. He entered on his new office in what to him 
was a fateful month, October 9th, 1811. 



TO be a major-general, and governor, and com- 
mander-in-chief of a provmce at the age of 
forty-two was no doubt an enviable position, but, 
with the irony of fate, just as he had reached it, 
an unlooked-for financial misfortune, involving his 
whole family, came upon Isaac Brock. Apart from 
the personal loss to himself, there was besides a 
threatened rupture of friendship between his bro- 
thers which touched his tender heart most keenly. 
The story of the misfortune is as follows: In June, 
1811, a firm of London bankers and merchant 
brokers failed. Isaac Brock's eldest brother, Wil- 
liam, was the senior member of the firm, and it was 
from this brother that he had received about three 
thousand pounds for the purchase of his commis- 
sions. William Brock had no children, and never 
intended to ask for the repayment of this sum. 
Unfortunately the loan appeared on the books of 
the firm, and General Brock was on the list of its 
debtors. The news of the failure came with double 
poignancy to Brock, on account of the difficulties in 
which it involved him, and also on account of the 
distress which had overtaken his favourite brother. 
Savery Brock was also a loser by the failure, which 



was aggravated by a coolness and estrangement 
that arose between William and his brother Irving, 
who was also connected with the firm. 

General Brock writes from York to his brother 
Savery on October 7th, 1811: "I have this instant 
finished a letter to Irving. I attempted to write 
composedly, but found it impossible. The news- 
papers gave me the first intimation of the heavy 
misfortune we have all sustained. To this day I am 
without a single line from any of the family. Let 
me know how WiUiam and his wife support the 
sad change in their affairs. I want to be at once 
apprized of the fuU extent of our misery. Why keep 
me in this horrid suspense ? I write merely to say 
— for my poor head will not allow me to say more — 
that to-mon'ow I enter into the official duties of 
president of this province. The salary attached to 
the situation is a thousand pounds, the whole of 
which I trust I shall be able to save, and after a 
year or two earn more. I go to Niagara next week, 
and shall again write through the states. Yesterday 
was the first truly gloomy birthday I have ever 

It was indeed a stinging blow to one who was 
the soul of honour and scrupulous to a degree in 
money affairs to find himself a debtor to such an 
amount, with no prospect of being able to discharge 
the debt. One may be sure, however, that sore as 
was the heart of the general, in outward appearance 
he was calm and unruffled, and none of the many 


who must have offered congratulations upon his 
inauguration as governor of the province would 
guess at the sorrow that weighed upon his heart. 

The first letter that he received from home 
brought also the news of the estrangement of his 
brothers, Irving and William. General Brock writes 
to the former on October 30th: "Your letter of the 
3rd of August was only received this day. To what 
a state of misery are we fallen I Poverty I was pre- 
pared to bear, but oh, Irving, if you love me, do 
not by any action or word add to the sorrows of 
poor unfortunate William. Remember his kindness 
to me — what pleasure he always found in doing me 
service. Hang the world ! — it is not worth a thought 
— be generous, and find silent comfort in being so. 
Oh, my dear boy, forget the past, and let us all 
unite in soothing the griefs of one of the best 
hearts that heaven ever formed. I can well conceive 
that the cause of his ruin was excited by too 
ardent a wish to place us all in affluence. His 
wealth we were sure to divide. Why refuse him 
consolation? It is all, alas, I can offer. I shall write 
to him the instant I feel sufficiently composed. 
Could tears restore him he would soon be happy — 
every atom of resolution leaves me the moment I 
require it most. I sleep little, but am compelled to 
assume a smiling face during the day. My thoughts 
are fixed on you all, and the last thing that gives 
me any concern is the call which Savery prepares 
me to expect from the creditors. I did not think 



that I appeared in the books. The mistake was 
wholly mine. Let me know the sum. Are my 
commissions safe, or must they be sold? Can 
I not retain out of the wreck my two or three 
hundred a year? They would save us all from 
want, and we might retire to some corner and 
still be happy. You know the situation to which 
I have been lately raised. It will enable me to 
give up the whole of my salary — a thousand 
pounds yearly — and I shall enclose a power of at- 
torney to enable you to receive it. Do with it what 
justice demands — pay as fast as you receive, unless, 
indeed, want among any of you calls for aid; in 
that case make use of the money and let the worst 
come. I leave everything to your discretion. If you 
possibly can satisfy my creditors, do so. I have 
been at three or four hundred pounds' expense in 
outfits, which I fear will prevent my remitting any- 
thing home this year, but the next I hope to spare 
to that amount. Depend upon my exercising the 
strictest economy, but I am in a position which 
must be upheld by a certain outlay. Did it depend 
upon myself, how willingly would I live upon 
bread and water. Governor Gore is gone home with 
a year's leave. Probably he will not return as long 
as the war continues. I ought not, however, to look 
to retain my situation above two years. I shall make 
all I can out of it by any fair means, for be satis- 
fied that even your stern honesty shall have no just 
cause to censure one of my actions. But I cannot 


look for much popularity in the homely way. I 
shall be constrained to proceed in the administra- 
tion. Much show and feasting are indispensable to 
attract the multitude, especially in a colony like 
this where equality prevails to such a degree that 
men judge of your disposition by the frequency of 
the invitations they receive, At present all classes 
profess great regard and esteem for me, but al- 
though I hope they may, I cannot expect such 
sentiments will continue long. If I retain the friend- 
ship of the considerate and thoughtful I shall be 
satisfied, and I shall strive to merit the good 
opinion of such men. Henceforth I shall address 
you without reference to the past; we must con- 
sider how to get on in the future. You have read 
much, and I trust will profit by the lessons philoso- 
phers inculcate. Believe me, yours till doomsday." 
Another letter is from the unfortunate cause of 
the trouble. William Brock writes: "You have 
received, or will receive shortly, a letter from our 
assignees, desiring to be informed in what manner 
the debt, which appears in our books as owing 
by you, is to be liquidated. Too well do I know, 
my dearest Isaac, your inability to pay it off your- 
self. It now amounts to something above three 
thousand pounds. The assignees will not, I believe, 
take any unpleasant steps to enforce the payment, 
yet it will be natural that they shall exact some 
sort of security from you. It was reported that 
legal proceedings were commenced against you, 



and upon this report, a young man lately from 
Canada, a Mr. Ellice, called on Charles Bell to 
enquire if it were so, and told Bell that rather than 
anything unpleasant should happen to you, so great 
was his esteem and friendship for you, that he 
would contrive to pay the debt himself. Besides 
his attachment to you, he told Bell you were so 
beloved in Canada that you would not want friends 
who would feel pleasure in assisting you to any 
amount, if necessary. I know your love for me, 
and shall therefore say a Httle about myself. Savery 
was in London when the house stopped, and never 
shall I forget what I owe him for the warmth and 
interest he has uniformly shown in this hour of 
need. Do not, I pray you, my dearest Isaac, at- 
tribute my former silence to any diminution of 
affection, but to a depression of spirits which this 
final catastrophe has in some measure relieved, as a 
reality of misfortune is probably less painful than 
the preceding anxiety of it. Let us pray the pros- 
pect may again brighten. In you is all my present 
pride and future hope. Savery has within the last 
few days sent me a copy of your welcome letter of 
September 10th, from Montreal, and most cheering 
it is to our drooping spirits. May this find you well 
and hearty in your new honours at York." 

The state of affairs in England at this time (1811) 

is told in a contemporary letter from Thomas G. 

Ridout, who was then on a visit there. He writes to 

his father, the surveyor-general of Upper Canada: 



" Trade is at a total stand here. In July and August 
the merchants made a desperate effort to get off their 
goods, and loaded eight hundred ships, which they 
sent to the Baltic for Russia, Sweden and Prussia, 
under an insurance of forty per cent. Some were 
lost on the sea, others taken by privateers, and the 
remainder got into ports where they were immedi- 
ately seized and condemned. In consequence, most 
of the insurers at Lloyd's have failed, along with 
many rich and reputable houses. The foreign trade 
is almost destroyed, the Custom House duties are 
reduced upwards of one half. Of such dreadful 
powei are Bonaparte's orders or edicts which have 
of late been enforced in the strictest manner aU 
over the continent, that the commerce of England 
has been almost ruined."^ 

This was doubtless the financial crisis in which 
William Brock had lost all. 

Isaac Brock was not of a temperament to brood 
over his misfortunes; rather, he set himself with 
a will to the work that lay before him. There was 
much to be done in the province he had been called 
upon to govern, for his predecessor, Mr. Francis 
Gore, was an easy-going man, who had been content 

1 When the hankers and merchants of Paris came to the Tuileries to 
congratulate Napoleon upon the birth of his son, Napoleon said in 
answer to their address : " ^Vhen I issued my decrees of Berlin and 
Milan, England laughed, yet see where she stands to-day. Within two 
years I shall subject England, I want only maritime force. ... No 
power in Europe shall trade with England. ... I made peace with 
Russia at Tilsit because Russia undertook to make war on England." 



to leave affairs much as he found them, and many 
abuses had crept into the civil administration. One 
rather amusing instance was the discovery that two 
oxen had been maintained for some years at the 
public expense, for the purpose of making a road 
and of clearing away the heavy timber that lay 
between the garrison and the town. As the work 
was still unfinished, though years had passed since 
General Hunter had given orders for it, it was 
surmised that the oxen had been idle or kept for 
other purposes. General Brock requested the com- 
mander-in-chief to allow the oxen to resume their 
work, a completion of which was most necessary. 
So bad was the road at that time that communi- 
cation between the garrison and Little York except 
by water was very difficult. 

A letter from Surveyor-General Ridout tells of 
the new governor's energy. He writes from York 
on December 18th, 1811, " General Brock intends 
making this his headquarters, and to bring the navy, 
engineers and all the departments here in the spring. 
He told me a day or two ago that he will build an 
arsenal between the park and the beach on the lake, 
the government buildings, or rather, the public 
offices, in front of Mr. Elmsley's house, a regular 
garrison where the government house now is, and a 
government house contiguous to the public build- 
ings. These intentions seem to show that he thinks 
of remaining with us for a certain time at least. 
I own I do not think that Governor Gore will 


return hither, but if this is not to be a permanent 
military government, I should think that depends 
upon himself. General Brock has also required from 
me plans of all the townships in the province, with 
the locations, which will be very heavy work." We 
can almost hear the sigh with which the worthy 
gentleman writes : " I own I do not like changes in 
administration. " 




IN 1811 the financial storm that had burst on 
England had spread to France. Quarrels had 
again arisen between the latter country and the 
two independent Baltic powers, Russia and Sweden, 
Denmark had taken to piracy and had seized more 
than fifty American ships, and Russia expected to 
fight France in order to protect neutral commerce 
in the Baltic. England had that year almost ceased 
to send ships there, and America swarmed in until 
the Russian market was glutted with its goods. 
The United States had now a monopoly of the 
Baltic trade, but while members were announcing 
in congress at Washington that Napoleon's decrees 
had been withdrawn, Russia and Sweden were in 
the act of declaring war against France in order to 
protect American rights from the effects of those 

The British prize court held that the French 
decrees had not been repealed, therefore, that Ameri- 
can vessels entering French ports were good prize. 
It was truly a complicated state of affairs. 

In the New England States there were some 
political changes which boded ill for peace. In 
Massachusetts, where the Federalist party had been 



distinctly in favour of England/ Elbridge Gerry, the 
Republican candidate for governor was elected and 
for the first time the Republicans had a majority in 
the state senate. Senator Pickering, possibly from 
his friendly action towards England, lost his seat. 
It was he who at a banquet in Boston to Mr. Jack- 
son, the English envoy, gave as a toast, " The 
world's last hope ; Britain's fast-anchored isle." 

There was a growing feeling of antagonism to 
England at Washington. The report of the com- 
mittee appointed by congress on foreign relations, 
recommended an increase of ten thousand men to 
the army, a levy of fifty thousand from the militia, 
the outfit of all vessels of war not on service, and 
the arming of merchant vessels. In the debate that 
followed, Mr. Randolph said: "Since the report of 
the committee came into the House we have heard 
but one word, like the whippoorwill's monotonous 
tone, * Canada, Canada, Canada.'" 

Napoleon kept the Americans still in doubt as to 
whether his Berlin and Milan decrees were or were 
not revoked. Champagny, now Duke of Cadore, 
said the emperor would favour the trade of the 
United States so far as it did not cover or pro- 
mote the commerce of England. The Americans 
chose to believe that the decrees were revoked, but 
as soon as they renewed their trade with France 
the British navy renewed their blockade of New 

^On this occasion the state was di\nded into districts in party 
interests. Hence the word ''gerrymander" so well-known in Canada. 



York harbour, and His Majesty's ships, the Me- 
laiivpus and Guerricre captured some American 
vessels bound for France, and impressed the Eng- 
lish seamen found on board. In retaliation. Secre- 
tary Hamilton ordered the forty-four gun frigate 
President to sail at once and protect American 
commerce. Then occurred near Annapolis the af- 
fair between the President, commanded by Captain 
Rodgers, and the Little Pelt, a corvette of eighteen 
guns, commanded by Captain Bingham. The cor- 
vette was chased by the frigate, and an action 
ensued in which the smaller boat was much dam- 
aged. Eleven of her crew were killed and twenty- 
four wounded. Both vessels disclaimed firing the 
first shot, and Captain Rodgers said that in the 
dusk of the twilight he was unaware of the size of 
his opponent. Whether it occurred by mistake or 
not, this affair served to increase the bad feeling 
between the two nations. 

Brock wrote on the subject: "President Madison 
has committed himself most openly and unjusti- 
fiably in the affair of the Little Pelt by accusing 
that poor little sloop of a wanton act of aggression 
in attacking a huge American frigate, when Com- 
modore Rodgers himself admits that he was nearly 
eight hours the chasing vessel." 

In his address to congress, November 4th, 1811, 
the president said: "With the evidence of hostile 
inflexibility in tramphng on rights, which no inde- 
pendent nation can relinquish, congress will feel the 



duty of putting the United States into an armour, 
and an attitude demanded by the crisis, and corres- 
ponding with the national expectation." This some- 
what grandiloquent message showed plainly the 
desire of the president for war. 

In this address it was also mentioned that it had 
been necessary to march a force towards the north- 
western frontier, in consequence of murders and 
depredations committed by the Indians. The story 
of this expedition may be briefly told. 

On the banks of the Tippecanoe creek, near the 
river Wabash, not far from Vincennes, and about 
one hundred and fifty miles south-east of Fort 
Dearborn (Chicago), was a flourishing Indian vil- 
lage. Cultivated fields testified to the industry of 
its inhabitants. As the home and headquarters of 
the great chief, Tecumseh, the village was fre- 
quented by bands of Indian warriors, then number- 
ing about five thousand in the territory, who hoped 
to keep for themselves and their children a portion 
of the heritage of their forefathers. They were 
animated by a spirit of patriotism, fostered by the 
teaching of their leader. On July 31st, 1811, Te- 
cumseh set off* on a mission to the Creeks in the 
far south. No sooner had he gone than the white 
dwellers on the Miami River determined to take 
active measures against the Indians. It happened 
that there had been depredations committed by the 
latter, and a feeling of distrust had arisen among 
the settlers, many of whom had encroached on the 


Indian boundaries, and had thus laid themselves 
open to attack. 

General Harrison was at that time governor of 
Indiana, and was authorized by the president to fit 
out an expedition, nominally as a protection for the 
white inhabitants, but in reality with an intention 
of breaking up the Indian settlement. Among the 
members of this expedition were a number of hot- 
headed young Kentuckians, eager to emulate the 
deeds of their fathers who had taken part in the old 
Indian wars of the century before. 

The expedition set off through what was then a 
wilderness, carrying with them a rather scanty 
supply of ammunition and food. General Harrison 
was himself in command, and pressed on with all 
haste in order to reach the village before their 
supplies should give out. At last they came to the 
banks of the Wabash, and there, within a short 
distance of Tippecanoe they encamped for the 
night on a hill. Word had gone to the village of 
their approach, and before the dawn a party of 
nine hundred young Indian braves stole on the 
sleeping camp and made a sudden attack. All was 
soon in confusion, and in the melee several hundred 
Americans, including some prominent Kentuckians, 
were killed and wounded. Having accomplished 
their task, and not waiting for the break of day, 
the Indians retired to their village. 

When day came. General Harrison gathered 
the remnants of his force together, and marched 



on the village, to find it, however, deserted by 
its inhabitants, who had fled to escape his venge- 
ance. All that he could do in retaliation was to 
burn the wigwams, destroy the stores of corn and 
fruits, and lay waste the fields. This done, he took 
his shattered band back by the way they came. 
This expedition was magnified by the Americans 
into a victory, and henceforth General Harrison 
was known by the name, " Old Tippecanoe." The 
Americans, willing always to blame the English 
government, placed the responsibility for the fight 
on the latter, and accused them of having incited 
the Indians to acts of aggression. One effect of the 
so-called battle was to make the Indians more 
favourable to an alliance with King George, and to 
make them hate, with a more bitter hatred, the 
despoilers of their homes. 

In January, 1812, Tecumseh returned to find 
famine where he had left plenty, ruin and desolation 
where he had left a prosperous community. From 
that time Indian hostilities began again on the 
frontier, and were carried on with great ferocity. 

In a letter to Sir James Craig on December 3rd, 
Brock wrote: "My first care on my arrival in the 
province was to direct the officers of the Indian 
department to exert their whole influence with the 
Indians to prevent the attack, which I understood 
a few tribes meditated against the American fron- 
tier. But these eflbrts proved fruitless. Such was 
their infatuation, the Indians refused to listen to 


advice, and they are now so deeply engaged that I 
despair of being able to withdraw them from the 
contest in time to avert their destruction. A high 
degree of fanaticism, which has been for years 
working in their minds, has led to the present state 
of things." Again he writes, "The Indians felt they 
had been sacrificed in 1794. They are eager to 
avenge their injuries." 

In view of the expected American invasion, as 
early as December, 1811, General Brock gave his 
plan of campaign to Sir George Prevost. After 
events* proved how right he was in his forecast. He 
represented that Amherstburg was a most import- 
ant position, and that Detroit and Michilimackinac 
ought to be taken in order to convince the Indians 
that the British were in earnest about war. At that 
time the garrisons of those two places did not exceed 
seventy rank and file, but reinforcements. Brock 
thought, would be drawn from the Ohio, where 
there was an enterprising, hardy race of settlers, 
famous as horsemen and expert with the rifle. He 
also thought that unless a diversion were made 
at Detroit, an overwhelming force would be sent 
against Niagara. 

In December, 1811, the mihtia at Amherstburg 
numbered about seven hundred men. Brock pro- 
posed to increase the garrison there by two hundred 
rank and file from Fort George and York. As for 
the protection of the country between Amherstburg 
and Fort Erie, he depended on the naval force on 



Lake Erie, which consisted then of one sloop, the 
Queen Charlotte, and one schooner, the Hunter. 
The latter was old and out of repair, and yet was 
the only vessel able to navigate Lake Huron. The 
Americans had on Lake Erie a sloop and a fine 
brig, the Adams, of twelve guns. Both were in 
perfect readiness for service. 

General Brock counselled the immediate pur- 
chase or hire of vessels, and also advised that gun- 
boats should be built at once, constructed to draw 
but httle water. Owing to his representations another 
schooner, the Lady Pi^evost, was ordered to be built 
on Lake Erie, and also one on Lake Ontario, the 
P?ince Regent. News had come that the only 
American vessel of war on Lake Ontario, then 
lying at Sacketts Harbour, was being manned as 
fast as possible. The Americans were also recruiting 
for the navy at Buffalo, and had crossed to Fort 
Erie to inveigle men away from there. 

General Brock wrote to Sir George Prevost that 
he believed an attempt at invasion w ould be made 
at the strait between Niagara and Fort Erie, and 
that he thought he could raise about three thousand 
militia and five hundred Indians to guard that line. 
He beheved a protracted resistance would em- 
barrass the enemy, for their troops, being volunteers, 
had hardly any discipline. He would need cavalry, 
and he had had many offers from young men to 
form a troop, but they would require swords and 
pistols. He considered Kingston a most important 


place to guard, for he believed a strong detachment 
of the enemy would follow Lord Amherst's route 
of 1760, and enter the province by way of Oswega- 
tchie (Ogdensburg), where the river St. Lawrence 
is one thousand six hundred yards broad. 

The militia between the Bay of Quinte and 
Glengarry were, he thought of excellent quality. 
They could not be better employed than in watch- 
ing such a movement. " Mr. Cartwright, the senior 
mihtia colonel at Kingston," he wrote, " possesses 
the influence to which his firm character and 
superior abilities so deservedly entitle him." 

Sir George Prevost wished to establish depots of 
arms throughout the country. Brock proposed that 
there should be proper places at each post where 
arms could be deposited after the militia had exer- 
cised. Sir George proposed sending two thousand 
three hundred and twenty -nine muskets to Upper 
Canada ; but as there was no place to store them 
there Brock urged the completion at once of the 
proper buildings for the purpose at York. 

In the summer of 1811 the 41st Regiment was 
at Montreal, eight hundred strong. In October it 
was moved to York. In November three hundred 
recruits for the regiment arrived at Quebec. They 
had been sixteen weeks on the passage, and had 
suffered much. " What a noble battalion this will 
be when brought together," Brock writes. It was 
not long before their mettle was tried and proved. 

The work of raising the corps of Glengarry 



Fencibles, proposed some years before, was now 
gone on with, and Colonel George Macdonell was 
entrusted with the task. Among the officers ap- 
pointed to it were three sons of General ^Eneas 
Shaw, then adjutant-general of militia.^ It was de- 
cided that the uniform of this corps should be dark 
green, like that of the 95th Rifles. Recruiting went 
on for the Glengarries, as they were called, not only 
in the province of Upper Canada, but also in Nova 
Scotia and New Brunswick, and sturdy High- 
landers were gathered from the coast and gulf, 
men who in the stern days to come fought to 
the death for Canada. 

In January a letter from Colonel Baynes told 
Brock that by the October mail had come the long- 
looked-for permission for him to return to England 
for service in Spain. Brock sent his formal acknow- 
ledgment of the receipt of this permission to leave 
Canada, but on account of the strong presumption 
of war with the Americans, he begged to be allowed 
to remain in his present command. Sir George 

1 On page 154 reference was made to General Brock's engagement 
to a lady in York. Fuller confirmation of the story has been since re- 
ceived, although in the form of a family tradition unsupported by 
letters. It was to a daughter (Susan) of Lieutenant-General Shaw that 
Brock was said to be engaged. Tlie lady in question never married, but 
died at an advanced age at the house of her sister, Mrs. John Baldwin. 
Another sister, Isabella, was said to be the fiancee of John Macdonell, 
Brock's friend and A.D.C. She afterwards married the eldest son of 
Chief Justice Powell. His granddaughter, Mrs. Ridout, now aged 
ninety, relates the story heard in her youth of the romantic engage- 
ment of the two sisters whose lovers fell together on Queenstou Heights. 



Prevost wrote saying that he had heard from 
Colonel Baynes that General Brock would not 
avail himself of his leave of absence, and expressed 
himself as much pleased that at this critical time 
he was not to be deprived of his services. 

A scheme of General Brock's was now carried 
out under his immediate supervision, namely, the 
formation of flank companies, in the different militia 
regiments, of specially drilled men, in order, as 
he said, to organize an armed force to meet future 
exigencies, and to demonstrate, by practical experi- 
ence, the degree of facility with which the militia 
might be trained to service. The companies were to 
consist of one captain, two subalterns, two sergeants, 
one drummer, and thirty-five rank and file. In 
General Brock's address to the officers of these 
companies, he said: "Assisted by your zeal, pru- 
dence and intelligence, I entertain the pleasing 
hope of meeting with very considerable success, 
and of being able to estabhsh the sound policy 
of rendering permanent a mode of military instruc- 
tion little burdensome to individuals, and in every 
way calculated to secure a powerful internal defence 
against hostile aggression." 

The arms and accoutrements for the flank com- 
panies were to be obtained from Fort Erie. General 
Brock also asked for clothing for them from the 
king's stores. As to their training, they were to drill 
six times a month, and as there was no provision 
for remunerating the men. Brock asked that the 



commissariat should issue rations for the number 
actually present at exercise. 

This organization proved a very useful measure, 
as the flank companies were ready when the war 
broke out. The numbers embodied at first were 
about seven hundred; when the companies were 
completed they might be reckoned at eighteen 

During the winter of 1811-12, military works 
were going on with all speed throughout the pro- 
vince. Artificers were preparing temporary maga- 
zines for the reception of spare powder at Fort 
George and Kingston, the proposed fortifications at 
York were begun, and ship-building was in pro- 
gress. "Be ready," was the watchword for the 




ON February 3rd, 1812, the House of Assem- 
bly at York was opened with all due state and 
ceremony, and a brilliant suite attended the acting 
governor. In his speech General Brock deplored 
the treatment of England by the United States, 
from whose harbours EngUsh vessels were inter- 
dicted, while they were open to those of her foes. 
Although he still hoped that war would be averted, 
he recommended measures that would defeat the 
aggressions of the enemy and secure internal peace. 
He appealed to the sons of those who had stood by 
England in the past, not that he thought it was 
necessary to animate their patriotism, but in order 
to dispel any apprehension in the country of the 
possibility of England deserting them. On February 
12th General Brock wrote to Colonel Baynes: "The 
assurance which I gave in my speech at the open- 
ing of the legislature, of England co-operating in 
the defence of this province, has infused the utmost 
confidence, and I have reason at this moment to 
look for the acquiescence of the two Houses to 
every measure I may think necessary to recom- 
mend for the peace and defence of the country." 
General Brock's hopeful anticipation of help from 



England was not realized during 1812. The pre- 
parations for defence were woefully hampered by 
the instructions which Sir George Prevost un- 
doubtedly received from the home government to 
avoid expenditure. He was limited as to expenses, 
and repeatedly cautioned not to provoke hostilities. 
Consent had been given to the completion of the 
defences of Quebec, but while millions were given 
to help Spain, and Austria, and Russia, and Prussia 
against Napoleon, Canada was left without money 
or soldiers. There was neither money to meet the 
cost of a war, nor troops to carry it through with 
any chance of success. Nor was it in a quarrel of 
her own that Canada was engaged, but the quarrel 
was forced upon her because she was the most vul- 
nerable part of the British empire. 

The measures that General Brock hoped to carry 
through the House were: (1) A militia supplemen- 
tary act; (2) the suspension of the habeas coj^jms; 
(3) an alien law, and the offer of a reward for the 
apprehension of deserters. He knew well that there 
were traitors even in the House of Assembly and 
among the militia, men who had recently come 
from the United States and whose sympathies were 
with the latter country. He was convinced that it 
was advisable to require every one to take an oath 
of allegiance abjuring all foreign powers. He wrote: 
"If I succeed in all this I shall claim some praise, 
but I am not without my fears." 

The administrator was doomed to be disappointed 


in securing the support of the two Houses of the 
legislature to the measures he had thought neces- 
sary to recommend. The bill to introduce the oath 
of abjuration was lost by the casting vote of the 
chairman. The bill for the suspension of the habeas 
corpus was lost by a small majority, partly because 
the members did not see its necessity, not believing 
that war would take place. General Brock thought 
that the reason for the acts not passing was the 
great influence the numerous settlers from the 
United States possessed over the decision of the 
Lower House. He thought this influence was al- 
arming, and could be remedied only by encourag- 
ing "real subjects" to settle in the province. He 
recommended that grants of Crown lands should 
be given to any Scotch emigrants who should enlist 
in the Glengarry Fencibles. He wrote to Colonel 
Baynes at Quebec concerning the disappointment 
he felt at the failure of the assembly to pass the 
bills he wanted. In reply, Baynes said: "Sir George, 
who is well versed in the fickle and intractable dis- 
position of public assemblies, feels more regret than 
disappointment. He has a very delicate card to 
play himself with his House of Assembly here, 
who would fain keep up the ftirce of being highly 
charmed with his amiable disposition and affable 

In March, 1812, congress met, and the president's 
message was decidedly hostile. It began by charg- 
ing that British cruisers had been in the continued 



practice of violating the American flag on the great 
highway of nations, and of seizing and carrying off 
persons sailing under it. This was the first time the 
government of the United States had alleged im- 
pressment as its chief grievance, or had announced 
its intention to claim redress. 

There was another grievance that the president 
brought forward in his message. It will be remem- 
bered that in 1808 one John Henry went to the 
United States from Canada on a secret mission, 
and entered into a correspondence with Mr. Ry- 
land, the secretary of Sir James Craig, relative to 
the feeling in the United States at that time as to 
war with England. Henry wrote fourteen letters in 
all, none of which were important or incriminating 
to the government of Canada. They were merely 
what an ordinary journalist might write on public 
affairs. Nevertheless he seems to have placed a high 
value on his services, and not receiving from Sir 
James Craig as much as he expected, he went to 
England in 1811 and claimed a reward from the 
government there. This was refused, and he was 
told to apply to the successor of Sir James Craig 
as better able to appreciate the ability and success 
with which his mission had been executed. Enraged 
by this refusal, Henry determined to sell his docu- 
ments to the United States. On his way back to 
America for this purpose he had as a fellow-passen- 
ger a young Frenchman, Count Edward de Crillon, 
who represented himself as belonging to a noble 


French family. To this man Henry confided his 
woes and grievances, and met with much sympa- 
thy. The count agreed to accompany him to Wash- 
ington and assist him in selhng his papers to the 
government there. He also persuaded Henry to 
purchase from him his family estate of "Castle St. 
Martine," to which he might retire and renew the 
health and strength which had been shattered by 
anxiety and the ingratitude of his country. All the 
payment the count would ask was the money from 
the American government which Henry would re- 
ceive by his assistance from the authorities at A^^ash- 
ington. Henry joyfully agreed. De Crillon, who had 
most engaging manners, was welcomed by the best 
society at the capital, who lavished on him all the 
attentions that his rank demanded. The memory of 
Lafayette still lingered in the United States, and 
the count touched the right chord in the national 
heart. By his clever persuasion. Secretary Monroe 
paid over the sum of fifty thousand dollars for the 
papers, which were made use of by the president 
to fan the flame of war. 

Madison in his address informed congress that 
while the Americans were at peace with the British, 
the governor of Canada had employed an emissary 
to traverse the states of the union, and especially 
Massachusetts, in order to excite the people to 
revolt. A thousand copies of the letters were 
ordered to be printed and distributed. The English 
government was charged in the press with foment- 



ing disaffection, intriguing with the disaffected to 
destroy the union, and draw the eastern states 
into an alliance with Great Britain.^ Sir George 
Prevost wrote on the subject to Lord Liver- 
pool: "Before your Lordship receives this letter 
you will probably be in possession of all the cir- 
cumstances relative to Henry's treachery. From 
Mr. Henry's residence in this country and his re- 
ligion, from his thorough acquaintance with the 
Canadian character and language, and, above all, 
from his deep resentment against the government, 
Bonaparte may be inclined to give him a favour- 
able reception in France, with a view to his keeping 
his talents in reserve to suit the exigencies of the 
government of the United States, in event of an alli- 
ance being formed between these countries against 

The sequel of the story, which was not known 
until long afterwards, was that de Crillon was an 
impostor. When the money was paid over to him 
he disappeared, leaving with Henry the worthless 
title deeds to an imaginary estate. Even in this 
small affair one can trace the hand of the astute 
master of Europe, for the so-called Count de Cril- 
lon turned out to be an agent of Napoleon's secret 
police ! 

'^Henry's letter to H. W. Rylatid, April Uth, 1808.— " From all I 
have been able to collect I can with confidence infer that in case of a 
war the states on our borders may be detached from the union, and, 
like the Germanic body, each state consult its own safety and interest. " 



The hostile address of the president, and the pre- 
parations for war that were being made throughout 
the United States, inspired Brock to fresh exertions 
for the defence of his province, which would un- 
doubtedly be the part of Canada to be first attacked. 
No possible precaution was omitted, there was no 
weak spot that was not strengthened to the best of 
his abiHty. He spared himself no fatigue. One day 
at York, engaged in the duties of his office, the next 
day he would be at Fort George superintending the 
defences of that frontier, reviewing and animating 
the militia, giving the word of praise where it was 
needed, cheering the timid, awing the disloyal. 
Even the Indians were not forgotten, and a visit 
was paid to the Grand River, where were settled 
the Six Nation Indians, with whom he was ex- 
tremely popular.^ 

The boasts in congress of the easy conquest 
of Canada, and the insolence of the press in the 
United States, had roused an intense national feel- 
ing among both the French and English inhabitants. 
In Quebec the corps known as "The Voltigeurs" 
had been raised and placed under the command of 
Major de Salaberry. We read in the papers of the 
day that it was completed with a despatch "worthy 
of the ancient warhke spirit of the country." 

iThe Iroquois, after being driven by the Americans from their 
territory south of Lake Ontario, received a grant of land from Sir 
Frederick Haldimand in 1784 on the Grand River between Lakes Erie 
and Ontario. Some also settled on the Thames, which falls into Lake 
St. Clair. 



In Lower Canada, by the militia law, the pro- 
vince was divided into fifty -two divisions. All males 
from sixteen to sixty were required to enrol their 
names with a captain of companies mustered to 
serve a year. This was the sedentary militia, con- 
sisting of about fifty thousand men. The incor- 
porated militia, by an act passed May 19th, 1812, 
was fixed at two thousand men, but was increased 
afterwards. This body was chosen by ballot from 
unmarried men in the sedentary militia, the term of 
service to be two years, which was afterwards 
increased to three years. No substitutes were per- 
mitted to serve. In the Upper Province, with some 
trifling modifications, the same system prevailed, 
but on account of the more scanty population the 
force was proportionately less. 

The commander-in-chief still preached caution 
and forbearance. In his letter to General Brock, 
of March 31st, 1812, he says: "I have carefully 
examined Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell's report 
on the American fort at Detroit, written at your 
desire from information he had received during 
a residence of a few days in the vicinity. Whatever 
temptations may offer to induce you to depart from 
a system strictly defensive, I must pointedly request 
that under the existing circumstances of our re- 
lation with the government of the United States, 
you must not allow them to lead you into any 
measure bearing the character of offence, even 
should a declaration of war be laid on the table of 


congress by the president's influence, because I am 
informed by our minister at Washington there pre- 
vails throughout the United States a great unwill- 
ingness to enter upon hostilities, and also because 
the apparent neglect at Detroit might be but a bait 
to tempt us to an act of aggression, in its effects 
uniting parties, strengthening the power of the 
government of that country, and affording that 
assistance to the raising of men for the augmen- 
tation of the American army, without which their 
ability to raise an additional regiment is now ques- 
tioned. You are nevertheless to persevere in your 
preparations for defence." 

Three weeks later, in a letter to Lord Liverpool, 
Sir George Prevost's tone had changed, and he was 
inchned to think war was more imminent. He 
writes: "The recent passing of an embargo act in 
congress, the orders issued for the march of sixteen 
hundred men to reinforce the American positions 
on Lakes Erie and Ontario and the river St. 
Lawrence, indicate an inevitable disposition for 
hostilities, which have induced me to accept the 
services of five hundred Canadian youths, to be 
formed into a corps of light infantry, or voltigeurs." 
On the same date, the minister at Washington, 
Mr. Foster, wrote to Lord Castlereagh, who had 
succeeded the Marquis of Wellesley as secretary of 
war: *'The militia in the northern, and particularly 
the eastern states, are well trained and armed. The 
general who has been lately appointed commander- 



in-chief (Dearborn) is a heavy, unwieldy looking 
man, who was a major in the American revolution- 
ary war, and was a prisoner in Canada. He has 
apparently accepted his appointment with great 
reluctance. There is a cannon foundry near here 
from which a hundred cannon have been lately 
sent to New York, many of them cast iron. They 
have fifty more now on hand. Considerable supplies 
are daily sending to Albany, the contractors having 
shipped for that place every barrel of beef and pork 
in the market." 

On April 14th, the president of the United States 
placed an embargo on all American vessels for 
ninety days, so as to limit the number on the high 
seas, and also to enable them to man their ships of 
war and privateers. Their fastest merchant vessels 
were made into cruisers. The anti-war party in the 
United States, however, still hoped that the orders- 
in-council would be repealed or at least some 
friendly message sent from the EngUsh govern- 
ment. But no friendly message came. 

In England at this time there was an interregnum 
of confusion. It was on May 8th, 1812, that Spencer 
Perceval, the prime minister, was assassinated. A 
letter of that date says: "Never has the British 
government been in the situation it now is, Mr. 
Perceval dead, and all public offices in confusion, 
and the great men caballing one against the other. 
If they repeal the orders-in-council, the American 
trade will flourish beyond all former periods. They 


will then have the whole commerce of the con- 
tinent in their hands, and the British, though 
blockading with powerful armaments the hostile 
ports of Europe, will behold fleets of American 
merchantmen enter in safety the harbours of the 
enemy, and carry on a brisk and lucrative trade, 
whilst the Enghsh, who command the ocean and 
are sole masters of the deep, must quietly suffer 
two-thirds of their shipping to be dismantled, and 
to lie snug and useless in little rivers or alongside 
huge but empty warehouses. Their sailors, in order 
to earn a little salt junk and flinty biscuit, must 
spread themselves hke vagabonds over the face of 
the earth, and enter the service of any nation. If, 
on the contrary, they continue to enforce their 
orders, trade will still remain in its present deplor- 
able state. An American war will follow, and poor 
Canada will be obliged to bear the whole brunt 
of American vengeance."^ 

On April 21st, 1812, the Regent had agreed to 
revoke the orders-in-council if the Berlin and Milan 
decrees should be repealed. It was June 15th, how- 
ever, when Mr. Brougham, in the House of Com- 
mons, moved for their repeal. They were revoked 
on June 23rd, a few days after the actual declara- 
tion of war by the United States. 

In May the Enghsh government did not appre- 
hend war. So little did they think it was coming 
that both the 41st and 49th Regiments were ordered 

1 Thos. G. Ridout, in "Ten Years of Upper Canada," p. 114. 



back for service in Portugal. In July even Lord 
Liverpool, the new prime minister, wrote that he 
lioped there would be no occasion for the sacrifices 
that the people of Lower Canada were willing to 
make for the defence of their country, and that the 
repeal of the orders-in-council would bring about 
a better feeling between the two countries. He 
directed that preparations for defense should be 
delayed, and that the proposed raising of the Glen- 
garry Regiment should be given up. When that 
letter arrived at its destination, war was in progress. 
It was well for Canada that by the foresight of one 
man in command there, preparations had been made 
to meet it. 

In April news came from Washington that five 
hundred militia from the state of New York were to 
be sent to Niagara, five hundred to Black Rock, 
opposite Fort Erie, and six hundred to Lake Cham- 
plain. It was thought that this measure would 
provoke hostihties, as it looked as if the Americans 
were determined to pick a quarrel. Again and again 
Sir George Prevost cautioned Brock to use every 
effort to prevent a collision. He was evidently 
afraid that his energetic colleague would precipitate 

In spite of his conviction that the sooner events 
came to a climax the better for Canada, General 
Brock writes in obedience to the orders of his 
commanding officer: "I entreat you to believe that 
no act within my control shall afford the govern- 


merit of the United States a legitimate pretext to 
add to the clamour so artfully raised against Eng- 
land." Brock's keen military instinct had divined 
what the enemy would first attempt, and he had 
urged upon Sir George Prevost the importance of 
striking the first blow. Sir George apparently agreed 
with Brock, yet held back, seemingly in doubt as 
to the line he should pursue. He was, no doubt, 
hampered by his instructions from England. In a 
letter to Colonel Baynes, Brock repeats: "I declare 
my full conviction that unless Detroit and Michili- 
mackinac be both in our possession at the com- 
mencement of hostihties, not only the district of 
Amherstburg, but most probably the whole country 
as far as Kingston must be evacuated." As to arms 
for the militia, he urged that they should be sent to 
Upper Canada with all speed. He says: "I have 
not a musket more than will suffice to arm the 
active part of the militia from Kingston westwards. 
I have to request, therefore, that the number of 
arms may be sent according to enclosed requisition 
to place on the communication between Glengarry 
and Kingston. Every man capable of carrying a 
musket along the whole of that line ought to be 
prepared to act." He wanted to find an enterpris- 
ing, intelligent commander for that district, and 
afterwards selected Major-General Shaw, in whom 
he had much confidence. As for himself, he in- 
tended to give his attention to Amherstburg and 
Niagara. He hoped that both the 41st and the 49th 



would be placed at his disposal. If so, he would 
send the former to Amherstburg. He thought it 
was impossible to send a force from the latter place 
to reduce INIichiUmackinac, for no vessel could 
pass the river St. Clair unless the British occupied 
both banks of the river. He then suggested a plan 
which had been contemplated some years before by- 
Sir James Craig and himself, namely, that of trans- 
porting a small force by the Ottawa. He advocated 
sending forty or fifty of the 49th Light Company, 
and a detachment of artillery by canoe from Mont- 
real. The North- West Company had, in 1808, pro- 
mised them transport. 

With the attention to detail for which Brock 
was remarkable, he ordered the purchase at Am- 
herstburg of two thousand bushels of corn. It had 
to be purchased on the American side, and was 
absolutely necessary in case of war. He also ordered 
the purchase of horses for the car brigade, as this 
was a service, he said, which required infinite trouble 
and practice to bring to any degree of perfection. 

This car brigade was a volunteer artillery com- 
pany of farmers' sons who had offered their services 
to Brock, together with their draught horses, free 
of expense. The company was completed in July, 
fully equipped, and placed under Captain Holcroft 
of the Royal Artillery. General Brock also ordered 
a minute survey of stores to be made at Amherst- 
burg and other posts. One effect of the embargo 
had been to keep forty thousand barrels of flour, 


the product of the southern shores of Lake Ontario, 
from the Montreal market. Most rigorous measures 
were being used by the United States officials to 
prevent the least infringement of the embargo on 
the Niagara River. Armed men in civilians' clothing 
were constantly patrolling the shore. An idle boy 
was said to have wantonly fired with ball from the 
Canadian side of the river at the guard opposite 
Queenston. The Americans were guilty of a similar 
outrage by firing at night into a room where a 
woman was sitting. 

So the winter and spring passed in constant 
anxiety and preparation. In May Brock wrote that 
nothing but the public voice was restraining the 
United States from commencing hostilities. He 
thought it probable they would seize some island in 
the channel. It was reported that six companies of 
Ohio militia were on their way to Detroit. Fort 
Niagara had been reinforced, and barracks were 
building at Black Rock, opposite Fort Erie. 

The Indians were now actively engaged against 
the Americans on the frontier, and Brock thought 
the neutral policy pursued towards them by the 
government of Canada was not wise. Each day that 
the officers of the department were restrained from 
interfering in their concerns, each time that they 
advised peace, and withheld the accustomed sup- 
ply of ammunition, their influence diminished. He 
thought the British would lose the interest of the 
Indians if they remained inactive. " I have always 



considered," he says, "that the reduction of Detroit 
would be a signal for a cordial cooperation on the 
part of the Indians, and if we be not in sufficient 
force to effect this object, no reliance ought to be 
placed on them." 

The inspection of the king's stores showed they 
were at a very low ebb. There were in them scarcely 
any articles of use or comfort. Blankets, hammocks, 
kettles ought to be purchased. Tents were urgently 
needed. In a letter to Colonel Baynes, General 
Brock says that he thought the disposition of the 
people throughout the country was very good. The 
flank companies had been instantly completed with 
volunteers, and he hoped to extend the system, but 
he ends with, "My means are very limited." 

There was great inconvenience for want of specie 
in Upper Canada, an evil which was increased by 
the embargo. In case of war there would be none 
to defray ordinary expenses. General Brock had to 
consider the best means of meeting this difficulty, 
and consulted some of the leading merchants of the 
country as to the possibility of a paper currency. 
He thought it would be generally approved of 
throughout the province, and that the circulation 
of ten or fifteen thousand pounds would meet pres- 
ent emergencies. His representations resulted in a 
number of gentlemen of credit forming themselves 
into what was called the Niagara and Queenston 
Association, and several thousand pounds were is- 
sued in the shape of bank notes, which were cur- 


rently received throughout the country, and after- 
wards redeemed with army bills. So little by little 
the resourceful commander met every difficulty 
and prepared himself for the inevitable conflict. 


a. z !^ CO 



Let every man who swings an axe. 
Or follows at the plough, 
Abandon farm and homestead, 
And grasp a rifle now ! 
We'll trust the God of Battles 
Although our force be small ; 
Arouse ye, brave Canadians, 
And answer to my call ! 

Let mothers, though with breaking hearts, 

Give up their gallant sons ; 

Let maidens bid their lovers go. 

And wives their dearer ones ! 

Then rally to the frontier 

And form a living wall ; 

Arouse ye, brave Canadians, 

And answer to my call ! 

— /. D. Edgar, '' This Canada of Ours." 

THE frontier of Canada to be defended, reckon- 
ing from Fort Joseph at the head of I^ake 
Huron to Quebec, was over twelve hundred miles in 
length. The number of regulars in both the Canadas 
was a little less than five thousand. The 8th, the 
41st, the 49th, the 100th Regiments, the 10th Royal 
Veterans, some artillery and the Canadian, New- 
foundland and Glengarry Fencibles composed the 
force, of which about fourteen hundred and fifty 
were in Upper Canada, divided between Forts 



Joseph, Amherstburg, Chippawa, Erie, York and 
Kingston. The most assailable frontier was the 
river Detroit from Sandwich to Amherstburg, the 
river Niagara from Fort Erie to Fort George, and 
the St. Lawrence from Kingston to St. Regis 
where the American boundary touches the St. 
Lawrence. Between that place and Quebec was an 
impenetrable forest. The population of Upper Can- 
ada was about seventy thousand, of which eleven 
thousand might be called out as militia, although 
not more than four thousand were ready for service. 
This, then, was the material of which Brock had to 
make an army of defence. It looked out of the 
question for it to be an army of attack. 

Early in May a warning note came from Mr. 
Thomas Barclay, the English consul-general at 
New York. He v^rote to Sir George Prevost: "You 
may consider war as inevitable. It will take place in 
July at the latest. Upper Canada will be the first 
object. Military stores of all kinds and provisions 
are daily moving hence towards the lines. Thirteen 
thousand five hundred militia, the quota of the 
state, are drawn and ordered to be in readiness at a 
moment's notice." 

During this month Brock had hurried up ord- 
nance and other stores to St. Joseph, and had 
ordered Captain Roberts, in command there, to be 
on his guard. At Amherstburg there were about 
seven hundred militia, rank and file. The general 
proposed to increase the garrison there by two 


hundred men from Fort George and York, and guns 
were sent also from those places, relying upon others 
coming from Kingston by the Earl of Moira. 

On June 1st General Hull, the civil governor of the 
Michigan territory, and then recently made brigadier- 
general, in command of about two thousand men, 
began his march for the Michigan territory from 
Dayton, Ohio. On June 7th he arrived at Urbana, 
where he was joined by the 4th Regiment. Colonel 
McArthur, from Detroit, with his regiment of 
Michigan militia, had been ordered to open a road 
as far as the Scioto River, where two blockhouses, 
joined by a strong stockade, were called Fort Mc- 
Arthur. General Hull's march lay for part of the 
way through thick and trackless forests. On June 
18th war was formally declared by the United 
States against England, but news of this did not 
reach Sir George Prevost at Quebec until the 26th 
of that month, and then it did not come officially 
but by a letter to the secretary, H. W. Ryland, 
from the firm of Forsyth, Richardson h Company, 
and James McGiUivray of the North- West and 
South- West Fur Companies. The letter was as fol- 
lows: "Montreal, June 24th. You will be pleased to 
inform the governor-general that we have just re- 
ceived by an express which left New York on the 
20th and Albany on Sunday last at 6 a.m., the 
account that war against Great Britain is declared." 
Fortunately General Brock was not left to learn 
the news by the circuitous channel of the govemor- 



general. He, too, had a communication sent him by 
express from Niagara. It came to Thomas Clark 
from John Jacob Astor, New York, and was im- 
mediately sent on to General Brock, who received 
it in York on June 26th.^ In a few hours two 
companies of the 41st Regiment in garrison at York 
were embarked in boats to the Niagara frontier, 
while the general assembled his council, called an 
extra session of the legislature, and then in a small 
open boat, with his brigade major, Evans, and his 
aide-de-camp. Captain Glegg, crossed the lake, 
(thirty miles) to Fort George, where he established 
his headquarters. Colonel Baynes wrote to him as 
soon as the intelligence reached Sir George, and 
said His Excellency was inclined to believe the 
report, but it was not official. Colonel Baynes also 
reported that six large canoes of the North-West 
Company going to the upper lakes by the Ottawa, 
to receive their furs, had offered to accommodate 
six soldiers in each canoe, in order to reinforce St. 
Joseph, but Sir George did not think it well to 
weaken the 49th by sending them. The letter ends, 
" Sir George desires me to say that he does not 
attempt to prescribe specific rules for your guidance 
— they must be directed by your discretion, and 
the circumstances of the time — the present order of 
the day with him is forbearance.''' 

* Mr. Astor had extensive fur interests in Canada, and obtained 
early and private information from Washington in order to prevent his 
store of furs being sent from their depots. 



On July 3rd there was still doubt about war 
being really declared, but Colonel Baynes writes to 
General Brock on that date from Quebec: "We have 
a report here of your having commenced operations 
by levelHng the American fort at Niagara. His Ex- 
cellency is most anxious to hear good and recent 
news from your quarter. The flank companies here 
are on the march, and two thousand militia will 
form a chain of posts from St. Johns to Laprairie. 
The town militia of Montreal and Quebec, to the 
amount of three thousand in each city, have volun- 
teered, are being embodied and drilled, and will 
take their part in garrison duty to relieve the troops. 
The proclamation for declaring martial law is pre- 
pared and will speedily be issued. All aliens will be 
required to take the oath of allegiance or immedi- 
ately quit the province. Our cash is at its last issue, 
and a substitute of paper must perforce be re- 
sorted to." 

General Brock did not wait to receive official 
instructions from the commander-in-chief, but im- 
mediately issued his orders for the disposal of his 
scanty force. He called out the flank companies, 
consisting of eight hundred well drilled men, and 
also sent an express to Captain Roberts at Fort 
Joseph with instructions to attempt the capture of 

The district general order from Niagara on June 
27th, was as follows: "Colonel Procter will assume 
the command of the troops between Niagara and 



Fort Erie. The Hon. Colonel Clans will command 
the militia stationed between Niagara and Queens- 
ton, and Lieutenant- Colonel Clark from Queenston 
to Fort Erie. The commissariat at their respective 
posts will issue rations and fuel for the number 
actually present. The car brigade and the provin- 
cial cavalry are included in this order. The detach- 
ment of the 41st, stationed at the two and four-mile 
points, will be relieved by an equal number of the 
1st Lincoln militia to-morrow morning. It is recom- 
mended to the militia to bring blankets with them 
on service. The troops will be kept in a constant 
state of readiness for service, and Colonel Procter 
will direct the necessary guards and patrols which 
are to be made down the bank and close to the 
water's edge. Lieutenant -Colonel Nichol is ap- 
pointed quartermaster-general to the militia forces, 
with the same pay and allowances as those granted 
to the adjutant-general." 

The appointment of Colonel Nichol to this posi- 
tion is another instance of General Brock's foresight 
and judgment in choosing men for special work. In 
1804, when Brock was a colonel in command at 
Fort George, this Mr. Nichol kept, in the village 
near by, a small shop or general store, where all 
sorts of wares were sold. He was a clever little 
Scotsman, and the colonel soon became his warm 
friend, and invited him often to dine with him at 
the mess. At this time there was a menace of war, 
and Colonel Brock soon discovered that his friend 


had a very good knowledge of the country. At his 
request Mr. Nichol drew up a statistical account of 
Upper Canada, showing its resources in men, horses, 
provisions, and its most vulnerable and assailable 
points. The sketch was in fact a military report, 
embracing every detail which the commander of an 
army would desire to have in the event of a war. 
The statement proved most valuable in after years 
to General Brock, and now that he was choosing 
his men for service in the various posts required. 
Colonel Nichol, to the surprise of some who thought 
themselves entitled to the position, was given an 
appointment where his particular qualities would 
be of use. Lieutenant-Colonel Nichol had been in 
command of the 2nd Norfolk Militia, a regiment 
composed almost entirely of native Americans, and 
naturally not much to be depended on at the be- 
ginning of the war. Colonel Nichol, in a letter to 
Captain Glegg, gives his idea of how to manage 
such a regiment He says: "You know well, sir, 
that in a militia composed as ours is of independent 
yeomanry, it would be both impolitic and useless 
to attempt to introduce the strict discipline of the 
line. Just and fair conduct and a conciliatory dis- 
position on the part of their commanding officer 
will do much, and this was the hne I had marked 
out for myself." 

Strange to say, the official communication of the 
declaration of war did not reach Sir George Prevost 
until about July 7th, at Montreal. He writes on 



that date to General Brock: "It was only on my 
arrival here that I received Mr. Foster's notification 
of the congress of the United States having declared 
war against Great Britain." The actual declaration 
took place on June 18th. The vote in the American 
senate was one hundred and ninety-three to thirteen, 
in the lower house seventy-nine to forty-nine. So 
unpopular was it in Massachusetts that on the 
receipt of the news the flags in the harbour of 
Boston were placed at half-mast. The declaration 
of war did not reach England until July 30th, and 
when it arrived, the government, thinking that the 
revocation of the orders-in-council would bring a 
suspension of hostihties, only ordered the detention 
of American ships and property. It was not until 
October 13th that directions were issued for general 
reprisals against the ships, goods and citizens of the 
United States. 

Colonel Baynes writes on July 8th, acknowledg- 
ing a letter from Brock of the 3rd : " Only four 
days from York." He continues, "We have felt 
extremely anxious about you ever since we have 
learnt of the actual declaration of war, which has 
been so long threatened that we never believed it 
would ever seriously take place. Even now it is the 
prevailing opinion that offensive measures are not 
likely to be speedily adopted against this country." 

At that moment General Hull, who had received 
news of the declaration of war on June 26th, was 
preparing to enter Canada. On June 24th the 


American general wrote, " I feel a confidence that 
the force under my command will be superior to 
any which can be opposed to it. It now exceeds 
two thousand rank and file." On June 30th he 
reached a village on the broad Miami, and engaged 
a small schooner there to take the baggage on 
to Detroit, while he continued his march with the 
troops. On July 4th his army reached the Huron 
River, twenty-one miles from Detroit, and the next 
day encamped at Springwells, four miles from the 
town. Here six hundred Michigan militia joined 
him. His order from Washington was : " Should the 
force under your command be equal to the enter- 
prise, consistent with the safety of your own post, 
you will take possession of Maiden, and extend 
your conquests as circumstances may justify." Hull 
did not think himself equal to the reduction of 
Fort Maiden. On the 12th he passed over the 
Detroit River, and established his headquarters in 
Colonel Baby's house. Colonel Baby was then ab- 
sent attending to his parliamentary duties in York. 
One can hardly realize in these days of rapid 
communication how difficult it was then to obtain 
information of what was happening in different 
parts of the province, or to convey orders. Much 
depended on the individual capacity of those in 
charge of distant posts, and a certain latitude had 
to be allowed them in carrying out instructions 
from headquarters. Seven hundred miles from York 
and about fifty iniles north-east of Michilimackinac 



was a lonely outpost on the island of St. Joseph, at 
the head of Lake Huron. A small company of the 
10th Royal Veteran Battalion was stationed here 
under the command of Captain Roberts. On June 
26th, from Fort George, General Brock sent a des- 
patch to that officer, giving him orders to attack 
Michihmackinac, the island lying in the strait be- 
tween Lakes Huron and Michigan. On the 27th 
this order was suspended, but on the 28th it was 
renewed. On the very day this letter was received, 
another dated June 25th arrived at Fort Joseph 
from Sir George Prevost, ordering Captain Roberts 
to act only on the defensive. This was rather a 
puzzhng position for the captain, but he knew well 
the importance General Brock attached to the tak- 
ing of the island, and he resolved to act on the 
instructions received in the letter of the 28th. He 
was confirmed in his intentions by another letter 
from General Brock, dated July 4th, in which he 
was told to use his discretion either to attack or 

On July 16th he therefore set out with a flo- 
tilla of boats and canoes in which were embarked 
forty-five officers and men of the 10th Veterans, 
about one hundred and eighty Canadian voyageurs 
under Toussaint Pothier, the agent of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, and a goodly number of Indians, 
the whole convoyed by a brig, the Caledonia, be- 
longing to the North-West Company. Under cover 
of night they approached the white cliffs of Mac- 


kinaw. It is a true Gibraltar of the northern lakes, 
accessible only on one side, and had sufficient time 
been allowed, it could no doubt have been easily 
defended. Its garrison consisted of sixty-one officers 
and men under command of a Captain Hanks. The 
expedition had been so cleverly managed that the 
enemy were completely taken by surprise, and at 
dawn of July 17th, the fort, which by the treaty of 
1794> had been ceded to the Americans, once more 
came under the British flag. It was the first opera- 
tion of the war, and a most important one. By it 
the wavering tribes of Indians in the North-West 
were confirmed in their allegiance to Great Britain, 
and these proved a very powerful aid in the coming 
contest. Mihtary stores of all kinds were found in 
the fort, also seven hundred packs of furs, for this 
was the rendez-vous of the traders of the North 
West. The news of this success did not, of course, 
reach Fort George until the end of the month, 
while it was August 3rd when the paroled men 
from Mackinaw reached Detroit and bore the first 
news of the disaster to General Hull. 

From Fort George, early in July, General Brock 
wrote to the commander-in-chief that the militia 
were improving in discipline, but showed a degree 
of impatience under restraint. "So great was the 
clamour," he says, "to return and attend to their 
farms, that I found myself in some measm-e com- 
pelled to sanction the departure of a large propor- 
tion, and I am not without my apprehension that 



the remainder will, in defiance of the law which 
only imposes a fine of twenty dollars, leave the 
service the moment the harvest begins." 

The general, however, knew how to deal with his 
homespun warriors, and instead of blaming the men 
his general order of July 4th gave them the word 
of praise they needed. He also gave them the word 
of sympathy that showed them he reahzed how hard 
it was for them to leave their homes and their un- 
gathered harvests, and spend their days and nights 
in tedious drill and outpost duty, without tents, 
without blankets, some even without shoes, which 
at that time could scarcely be provided in the 
country. His order ran as follows: "Major-General 
Brock has witnessed with the highest satisfaction 
the orderly and regular conduct of such of the 
miUtia as have been called into actual service, and 
their ardent desire to acquire militaiy instruction. 
He is sensible that they are exposed to great priva- 
tions, and every effort will be immediately made to 
supply their most pressing wants, but such are the 
circumstances of the country that it is absolutely 
necessary that every inhabitant should have re- 
course to his own means to furnish himself with 
blankets and other necessaries. The major-general 
calls the serious attention of every militiaman to 
the efforts making by the enemy to destroy and lay 
waste this flourishing country. They must be sens- 
ible of the great stake they have to (Contend for, and 
will by their conduct convince the enemy that they 


are not desirous of bowing their necks to a foreign 
yoke. The major-general is determined to devote 
his best energies to the defence of the country, and 
has no doubt that, supported by the zeal, activity 
and determination of the loyal inhabitants of this 
province, he will successfully repel every hostile 
attack, and preserve to them inviolate all that they 
hold dear. From the experience of the past the 
major-general is convinced that should it be neces- 
sary to call forth a further proportion of the militia 
to aid their fellow-subjects in defence of the pro- 
vince, they will come forward with equal alacrity to 
share the danger and the honour." Thus he took 
the rough metal at his hand, and out of it forged a 
weapon of strength that did good service through 
three years of trial. 

The position of affairs in Upper Canada in the 
early part of July was extremely unpromising. 
About four thousand American troops under the 
command of Brigadier-General Wadsworth were on 
the Niagara frontier between Black Rock and Fort 
Niagara, with headquarters at Lewiston, directly 
opposite Queenston. A report had come to General 
Brock of the bombardment of Sandwich (which 
was not true), but a further report came of its 
occupation by the American general. President 
Madison announced in his address to congress that 
General Hull had passed into Canada with a pros- 
pect of easy and victorious progress. From Sand- 
wich Hull issued a proclamation to the people of 



Canada, offering the alternatives of " peace, liberty 
and security, or war, slavery and destruction."* 
Colonel St. George, who commanded the Canadian 
militia on the Detroit frontier, reported to General 
Brock that they had behaved badly and that many 
of them had joined the invading army. There is no 
doubt that on that western peninsula there were 
many American settlers, bound by no tie of patriot- 
ism to Canada, whose sympathies were entirely 
with the United States. A very different feeling 
prevailed in that part of the country which had 
been mainly settled by Loyalists after the American 
revolution, and also where General Brock was per- 
sonally known and where his influence extended. 
He wrote to Sir George his impressions about the 
loyalty of the population of Upper Canada, and 
said that although a great number were sincere in 
their desire to defend the country, there were 
many others who were indifferent, or so completely 
American as to rejoice in the prospect of a change 
of government. 

Another disquieting report came at this time of 
the feeling among the Indians on the Grand River. 
They had heard of General Hull's successful entry 
into the country, his emissaries were already among 
them, and they had decided to remain neutral. 

The American press was now full of boastful 

* Hull's proclamation to the people of Canada runs : " You will be 
emancipated from tyranny and oppression and restored to the dignified 
station of free men." 



predictions of the early fall of Canada. Dr. Eustis, 
the American secretary of war, said : " We can take 
the Canadas without soldiers, we have only to send 
officers into the province, and the people, disaffected 
towards their own government, will rally round our 
standard." Henry Clay said : " It is absurd to sup- 
pose we shall not succeed in our enterprise against 
the enemy's provinces. We have the Canadas as 
much under our command as Great Britain has the 
ocean ; and the way to conquer her on the ocean is 
to drive her from the land. I am not for stopping 
at Quebec or anywhere else, but I would take 
the continent from them. I wish never to see a 
peace till we do." 

In the face of all this assertion, and with a 
knowledge that a handful of regulars and a few 
thousand undisciplined mihtia were all that he had 
to drive the invaders back, it was hard for the 
general in command to keep a confident air, and to 
prevent the people dependent on him from giving 
up in despair. To Sir George Prevost Brock wrote: 
"It is scarcely possible that the government of the 
United States will be so inactive or supine as to 
permit the present limited (British) force to remain 
in possession of the country. Whatever can be done 
to preserve it, or to delay its fall, your Excellency 
may rest assured will be done." "I talk loud and 
look big," he laughingly says in a letter to Colonel 

General Brock lost no time in sending Colonel 



Procter to Amherstburg, where he was expected to 
arrive on July. 21 st. Of that officer he says: "I have 
great dependence on his decision, but fear he will 
arrive too late to be of much service." The letter, 
which was to the commander-in-chief, continues: 
"The position which Colonel St. George occupies 
is very good, and infinitely more formidable than 
Fort Maiden itself. Should he be compelled to 
retire I know of no other alternative for him than 
embarking in the king's vessels and proceeding to 
Fort Erie. Your Excellency will readily perceive 
the critical situation in which the reduction of 
Amherstburg will place me. I shall endeavour to 
exert myself to the utmost to overcome every 
difficulty. I now express my apprehensions on a 
supposition that the slender means your Excellency 
possesses will not admit of diminution, consequent- 
ly, that I need not look for reinforcements. The 
enemy seem more inclined to work on the flanks, 
aware that if he succeeds every other part must 
soon submit." 

Just before the news came of General Hull's 
occupation of Sandwich, Sir George had written 
to Brock, still counselling forbearance. He said : 
" While the states are not united themselves as to 
the war, it would be unwise to commit any act 
which might unite them. Notwithstanding these 
observations, I have to assure you of my perfect 
confidence in your measures for the preservation of 
Upper Canada. All your wants shall be supplied as 


fast as possible, except money, of which I have 

Parliament was now sitting at Quebec, and Sir 
George Prevost was obliged to be at that place, 
while General de Rottenburg remained in Mont- 
real. A small reinforcement of troops had arrived 
in Canada, consisting of the 103rd RegimeAt, a weak 
battalion of Royal Scots, and some recruits for the 
100th. The arrival of the 103rd allowed the re- 
mainder of the 49th to proceed to Upper Canada. 
"Oh, for another regiment," Brock sighed. The 
naval force available in Upper Canada was a small 
squadron on Lake Ontario, consisting of the Royal 
George of twenty-four guns, the brig Moira six- 
teen guns, the Prince Regent, which had just been 
built and equipped at York, and two other small 
schooners. On Lake Erie the Qiieen Cliarlotte was 
at Fort Maiden, and the sloop of war Hunter had 
been sent to the straits of JNIackinaw. 

General Hull's boastful proclamation from Sand- 
wich had not been received with the enthusiasm 
he had expected from the population of Upper 
Canada. A counter appeal had been issued from 
Fort George by General Brock, ending in these 
words: " Beholding, as we do, the flame of patriot- 
ism burning from one end of the Canadas to the 
other, we cannot but entertain the most pleasing 
anticipations. Our enemies have indeed said that 
they can subdue the country by a proclamation, 
but it is our part to prove to them that they are 



sadly mistaken; that the population is determinedly 
hostile, and that the few who might be otherwise 
inclined will find it to their safety to be faithful." 

It was well to be cheerful and confident in the 
face of the difficulties that suiTounded him, and 
this spirit was shared by his followers. Once more 
he writes to the commander-in-chief: "The alacrity 
and good temper displayed when the militia marched 
to the frontier has infused in the minds of the enemy 
a very different sentiment of the disposition of the 
inhabitants, who he (the American general) was led 
to believe would, on the first summons, declare 
themselves an American state." 

On July 20th news came of an unexpected 
success. It will be remembered that General Hull 
on his march to Detroit had left his heavy baggage 
and stores to be conveyed by a schooner, Cayahoga, 
from the Miami River to Detroit. The boats of the 
Hunter^ under the command of Lieutenant Rolette, 
came across this schooner and succeeded in captur- 
ing it. General Brock wrote at once to Sir George 
Prevost to tell him that Colonel St. George had 
reported the capture and had sent him some inter- 
esting documents found on board. From the corres- 
pondence taken he judged the force at Detroit 
to consist of about two thousand men. It was re- 
ported also that the enemy were making numerous 
and extensive inroads from Sandwich up the river 
Thames. He had therefore sent Captain Chambers 
with about fifty of the 41st to the Moravian town, 


where he had directed two hundred mihtia to join 
him. He was most anxious to set off himself for 
Amherstburg, but was obhged to wait for the 
meeting of the legislature, which was summoned 
for July 27th. 

As to making an attack on Fort Niagara, which 
had been suggested, General Brock did not think it 
was of immediate consequence. He writes: " It can 
be demolished when found necessary in half an 
hour." His guns were in position and he considered 
his front to be perfectly safe. In the meantime he 
was devoting himself to the training of the militia, 
to enable them to acquire some degree of discip- 

On July 22nd from Fort George, General Brock 
issued another proclamation as president of the 
province. It ran as follows: "The unprovoked de- 
claration of war by the United States of America 
against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and 
Ireland has been followed by the actual invasion of 
this province, in a remote frontier of the western 
district, by a detachment of the armed forces of 
the United States. The officer commanding that 
detachment has thought proper to invite His Ma- 
jesty's subjects not only to a quiet and unresisting 
submission, but insults them with a call to seek 
voluntarily the protection of that government. 

"Where is the Canadian subject who can truly 
affirm to himself that he has been injured by the 
government of Great Britain in his person, his 



liberty or his property? Where is to be found in any 
part of the world a growth so rapid in wealth and 
prosperity as this colony exhibits, settled not thirty 
years ago by a band of veterans exiled from their 
former possessions on account of their loyalty? Not 
a descendant of these brave people is to be found 
who under the fostering liberality of their sovereign 
has not acquired a property and means of enjoyment 
superior to what were possessed by his ancestors. 
This unequalled prosperity could not have been 
attained by the utmost hberahty of the government 
or the persevering industry of the people, had not 
the maritime power of the mother country secured 
for its colonists a safe access to every market where 
the produce of their labour was in demand. 

''The unavoidable and immediate consequence of 
a separation from Great Britain must be the loss of 
this inestimable advantage. What is offered you in 
exchange? To become a territory of the United 
States and share with them that exclusion from the 
ocean which the poHcy of their present government 
enforces. You are not even flattered with a prospect 
of participation in their boasted independence, and 
it is but too obvious that once excluded from the 
powerful protection of the United Kingdom, you 
must be re-annexed to the Dominion of France, 
from which the provinces of Canada were wrested 
by Great Britain, at a vast expense of blood and 
treasure, from no other motive than to relieve her 
ungrateful children from the oppression of a cruel 


neighbour. This restitution to the empire of France 
was the stipulated reward for the aid afforded to 
the revolted colonies, now the United States. The 
debt is still due and there can be no doubt the 
pledge has been renewed as a consideration for 
commercial advantages, or rather, as an expected 
relaxation in the tyranny of France over the com- 
mercial world. Are you prepared, inhabitants of 
Upper Canada, to become willing subjects, or 
rather, slaves to the despot who rules Europe with 
a rod of iron? If not, arise in a body, exert your 
energies to cooperate cordially with the king's 
regular forces to repel the invader, and do not give 
cause to your children, when groaning under the 
oppression of a foreign master, to reproach you with 
having too easily parted with the richest inheritance 
on earth — a participation in the name, character 
and freedom of Britain. 

"Let no man suppose that if in this unexpected 
struggle His Majesty's arms should be compelled to 
yield to an overwhelming force, the province will 
be abandoned. The endeared relation of its first 
settlers, the intrinsic value of its commerce, and the 
pretensions of its powerful rival to repossess the 
Canadas, are pledges that no peace will be estab- 
hshed between the United States and Great Britain 
of which the restoration of these provinces does not 
make the most prominent condition." 

On July 27th General Brock returned to York, 
where, attended by a numerous suite, he opened 



the extra session of the legislature. His speech on 
that occasion rings like a trumpet note: "Gentle- 
men of the House of Assembly, we are engaged in 
an awful and eventful contest. By unanimity and 
despatch in our councils, and vigour in our opera- 
tions we may teach the enemy this lesson, that a 
country defended by free men enthusiastically de- 
voted to the cause of their king and constitution, 
can never be conquered!" 




ON July 29th news arrived at York of the success- 
ful capture of Michilimackinac, and General 
Brock immediately sent a despatch announcing it 
to Sir George Prevost. He also informed him that 
the militia at York had volunteered for service to 
any part of the province, and he had selected a 
hundred to proceed at once to Long Point, Lake 
Erie. He thought that unless the enemy could be 
driven from Sandwich it would be impossible to 
avert the ruin of the country. He intended leaving 
himself on the 30th for Fort George, but would 
return the next day. On the same date Sir George 
wrote to him telling him that he had placed Major- 
General SheafFe on the staff, and was sending him 
to Upper Canada to assist in the arduous service 
there. News had just arrived at Quebec of the revo- 
cation of the orders-in-council, as regarded America, 
and Sir George was incUned to moderate measures. 
In the meantime, on the American seaboard, and 
the coasts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, 
stirring scenes were enacting. 

Sir Thomas Saumarez, who had married a cousin 
of General Brock,^ writes to him from Halifax that 

1 Sir Thomas Saumarez married, iu 1787, Harriet, daughter of 
William Brock and Judith de Beauvoir. 



he and his wife had safely arrived there, and con- 
sidered themselves very fortunate at not having 
fallen into the enemy's hands, as war had been 
declared a week before they reached port. He says: 
"We came out in a very valuable ordnance store 
ship, which would have been a great acquisition to 
the enemy, and its loss would have been severely 
felt, as all the stores on board are much required. 
Our squadron on this station has been very active. 
Prizes arrive here daily, I could almost say hourly. 
The Emulous brought in ten yesterday, and thirty 
thousand dollars were found on some of them. Mr. 
Foster, the late ambassador to the states, has been 
here nearly a week, he is to sail for England to- 
day. The northern and eastern states are extremely 
inimical to, and dissatisfied with this war, so much 
so that there is reason to suppose they will dissolve 
the union shortly, and declare themselves totally 
independent of the southern and western states. 
The American privateers are extremely numerous 
and daring in this neighbourhood, and I am sorry 
to add they have proved but too successful, having 
captured several of our vessels bound to Quebec 
and New Brunswick, and some to this port. I re- 
ceived a note about an hour ago from Lieutenant- 
Colonel Pearson, who sailed from here last Sunday 
with his wife and family, for Quebec, being ap- 
pointed inspecting field officer in Canada, to inform 
me that he had been made prisoner by an American 
privateer. Most of our ships are looking out for the 


squadron under Commodore Rodgers, who is sup- 
posed to have sailed from New York with a view to 
intercept our West India fleet. A transport with a 
hundred and forty men of the Royals, from the 
West Indies to Quebec, was boarded by the Essex, 
an American frigate, about ten days ago, and per- 
mitted to proceed on condition that the master of 
the vessel promised to pay a ransom of twelve 
thousand dollars for her, and that the officers com- 
manding should consider themselves on parole, and 
give their assurance that the troops would not fight 
against the Americans during the war." 

This was a rather aggravating piece of news 
when men and money were needed so badly. 

While General Brock was in York attending to 
the meeting of the legislature, affairs at Fort George 
were in charge of Lieutenant- Colonel Myers, an 
officer in whom he had great confidence. "Niagara 
on the British side, or as it is sometimes called, 
Newark," so an American soldier writes, " looks 
wicked everywhere. It is a charming, fertile village, 
but all a camp fortified at every point." 

The miUtia, who had been allowed to go to their 
homes on account of the harvest, had been recalled. 
There was a question raised at this time as to the 
powers which General Brock had in his combined 
military and civil capacity. As civil governor he 
could convene general courts-martial for the trial of 
offenders belonging to the militia, and even inflict 
punishment by death ; but in his military office he 



could only convene the court. He thought he ought 
to have equal authority in both offices. He wrote 
from York on August 4th to Sir George Prevost, 
as follows: "I have the honour to enclose a state- 
ment made by me yesterday to His Majesty's 
executive council, which will fully apprize your 
Excellency of my situation. The council adjourned 
for deliberation, and I have no doubt will recom- 
mend the prorogation of the assembly and the 
proclamation of martial law, but doubts occurring 
in contemplation of such an event, I take the liberty 
to submit these questions to your Excellency, and 
request the aid of your experience and superior 
judgment. In the event of declaring martial law 
can I without the sign manual approve and carry 
into effect the sentence of a general court-martial ? 
2nd. Can I put upon a general court-martial, after 
martial law is proclaimed, any person not a com- 
missioned officer in His Majesty's regular forces ? 
In other words, can officers of the militia sit in 
conjunction with those of the line?" 

The answer to this was written on August 12th, 
and Sir George said: "As the martial law which 
you propose declaring is founded on the king's 
commission and upon the extreme case of invasion 
alluded to in it, I am inclined to think that what- 
ever power is necessary for conveying the measure 
into effect must have been intended to be given 
you by your commission. The officers of the militia, 
becoming themselves subject to martial law, I con- 


ceive they may sit upon courts-martial with officers 
of His Majesty's regular force, but upon both these 
points I desire not to be understood as speaking 

News had just reached Quebec of Captain Rob- 
erts's capture of Fort Michihmackinac. Sir George 
wrote: "Great credit is certainly due that officer 
for the zeal and promptitude with which he has 
performed this service. At the same time I must 
confess my mind has been very much relieved by 
finding that the capture took place at a period 
subsequent to Brigadier-General Hull's invasion of 
the province, as had it been prior to it, it would not 
only have been in violation of Captain Roberts's 
orders, but have affi^rded a just ground for the 
subsequent conduct of the enemy, which I now 
plainly perceive no forbearance on your part would 
have prevented." As a matter of fact the capture 
of Michihmackinac was effiscted contrary to Sir 
George Prevost's order, because Fort St. Joseph, 
being nearly three hundred and fifty miles from De- 
troit and Sandwich, and the expedition having left 
the fort four days after Hull's invasion, it was not 
possible for Captain Roberts to have heard in that 
time of the event. In his letter to the adjutant- 
general announcing the capture, he does not say 
that he had heard of the invasion. In his letter to 
Lord Bathurst, Sir George expresses himself rather 
differently. He says: "In these measures Major- 
General Brock was most opportunely aided by the 



fortunate surrender of Fort Michilimackinae, which 
giving spirit and confidence to the Indian tribes in 
its neighbourhood, part of whom assisted in its cap- 
ture, determined them to advance upon the rear 
and flank of the American army as soon as they 
heard it had entered the province." 

At this time Sir George was much occupied with 
the meeting of the legislature at Quebec. To the 
credit of the House it must be said that they took 
prompt measures for the safety of the country. 
Past differences were forgotten, and all the mem- 
bers worked for the common weal. An act was 
passed providing for the issue of army note bills. 
The province was to pay the interest accruing upon 
the notes and the expense of the establishment. 
They were to be legal tender. Fifteen thousand 
pounds annually for five years were granted to pay 
the interest that might become due on these bills, 
of which two hundred and fifty thousand pounds 
were authorized to be put into circulation. Large 
bills, of twenty-five dollars and upwards, were to 
bear interest at the rate of four pence a day for 
every one hundred pounds. At the end of five years 
all those who might be the holders of such 
army bills were entitled to receive the amount of 
the same, with interest due, out of the provincial 

1 111 February, 1815, it was estimated that ^5,200,000 had been 
issued, of which $3,200,000 were bearing interest amounting' to 
$192,000, of which the province paid $60,000. 



The commander-in-chief was at last able to send 
the much-needed money and stores to Upper Can- 
ada. Major Ormsby, with three companies of the 
49th, protecting a large supply of ordnance, left 
La Chine on August 6th for Kingston and Fort 
George, taking two thousand five hundred pounds 
for the payment of regulars and mihtia. Another 
company, with one hundred and ten men of the 
Newfoundland Regiment and fifty picked Veterans, 
were to follow under Major Heathcote. Camp 
equipage for five hundred men was also promised 
as soon as bateaux could be collected at La Chine. 
Colonel Vincent with the remainder of the 49th, 
and a subaltern and ten gunners of the Royal 
Artillery, with two 3-pounders, were ordered to 
Fort George. 

As to military affairs on the frontier of Quebec, 
it was reported that the Americans were forming 
depots in the neighbourhood of Montreal, and were 
also building bateaux on Lake Champlain. In the 
meantime the House of Assembly at York was 
prorogued as soon as it had passed the necessary 
supply bill, and Major- General Brock was free 
to proceed to the western frontier. Most of the 
members of the House were in the active militia 
and were needed in their respective districts. Colonel 
Baby, who had been attending to his parliamentary 
duties, had been bereft of his house in his absence, 
as General Hull had chosen it for headquarters, 
being the largest and best in Sandwich. 



Colonel Elliott, another member of the legis- 
lature, lived near Amherstburg, and had long been 
in charge of the Indians in that district, over whom 
he exercised gi-eat influence. John Macdonell, the 
acting attorney -general and member for Glengarry, 
a young man of much promise, was chosen as aide- 
de-camp by the general. The latter called for 
volunteers to accompany him on the expedition, 
and such was the enthusiasm aroused that more 
than five hundred offered their services. The general, 
however, could only accept half of that number as 
the rest were required to guard the Niagara frontier. 
Forty men of the 41st Regiment were also detached 
from the little garrison at Fort George, to pro- 
ceed to Amherstburg. The volunteers chosen were 
chiefly young men, sons of the principal residents 
of York and the adjacent countiy. Before they left 
on their perilous expedition they attended a service 
at St. James's Church in York, where- their friend 
and rector. Dr. Strachan, whose pupils most of 
them had been, preached them a stirring sermon, 
and sent them on their way with his blessing to 
drive back the invaders of the land. 

A word of farewell was sent to the general by 
his friends Colonel Bruyeres and Colonel Bajnes. 
The former wrote: "The difficult task placed in any 
other hands I should consider very discouraging, 
but I acknowledge that I look with a certain degree 
of confidence to your abilities and perseverance in 
surmounting every difficulty." The other says : 


"Adieu, my dear general, we cannot command 
success, but I am sure you will not fail to merit 


General Brock and his little band left York on 
August 6th for Burlington Bay, and thence pro- 
ceeded by land to I^ong Point, Lake Erie. On the 
way he passed the Mohawk village on the Grand 
River, and took the opportunity of personally find- 
ing out the disposition of the Indians there. About 
sixty promised to follow him. At Long Point the 
forty regulars and two hundred and sixty volun- 
teers which composed the troop, embarked in all 
sorts of boats for the journey of about two hundred 
miles along the coast to Amherstburg. Up this 
same lake had journeyed fifty years before. Major 
Rogers with his rangers, bearing with them the 
English flag for the old French fort of Detroit. 
There it waved until, by the treaty of 1794, the 
fort was ceded to the Americans. The coast of 
Lake Erie is a dangerous one to navigate, with 
sand cliffs rising one hundred to two hundred feet 
sheer from the water, and there were very few 
creeks or inlets where safe landing could be made. 
At times a heavy surf breaks upon the shore. The 
weather was bad, rainy and stormy, but, inspired by 
their leader, the men bore their privations without 
a murmur. Once the boat in which were the general 
and some of his new recruits ran on a rock. Oars 
and poles were used in vain, when Brock with the 
daring expertness learnt long before on the Guern- 



sey coast, jumped overboard, an example quickly- 
followed by the others, and the boat was safely 
pushed into deep water. 

On August 12th they reached Point aux Pins, 
and the general wrote there his orders to his little 
fleet. "It is Major-General Brock's intention, should 
the wind continue fair, to proceed during the night; 
officers commanding boats will therefore pay at- 
tention to the order of sailing as directed yesterday; 
the greatest care and attention will be required 
to prevent the boats from separating or falling 
behind. A great part of the banks of the lake 
where the boats will this day pass is much more 
dangerous and difficult of access than any we 
have passed; the boats will therefore not land 
except in the most extreme necessity, and then 
great care must be taken to choose the best place 
for beaching. The troops being now in the neigh- 
bourhood of the enemy, every precaution must 
be taken to guard against surprise. By order, J. 

After five days and nights of incessant exertion, 
the little squadron reached Amherstburg shortly 
before midnight on August 13th. There is a note 
in General Brock's handwriting which gives this 
tribute to the men who accompanied him: *' In no 
instance have I seen troops who would have en- 
dured the fatigue of a long journey in boats during 
extremely bad weather, with greater cheerfulness 
and constancy; and it is but justice to this little 


band to add that their conduct throughout excited 
my admiration." 

It was well for Canada that no message reached 
Brock to stop him on the way, for while he was 
pressing on, the over-cautious and vacillating com- 
mander-in-chief, possessed with the idea that the 
repeal of the orders-in-council would bring a ces- 
sation of hostilities, had sent Colonel Baynes to 
General Dearborn at Albany, with a proposition 
for an armistice. 




THE garrison at Amherstburg consisted of a 
subaltern detachment of the Royal Artillery, 
three hundred men of the 41st, and about the same 
number of mihtia. Captain Chambers, with fifty 
men of the 41st, had been sent to the Moravian 
town on the river Thames for the purpose of col- 
lecting the mihtia and Indians there, and advancing 
on the left flank of the enemy. Forty more had 
been sent to Long Point to collect the militia in 
that neighbourhood. Sixty of the 41st had just 
arrived with Colonel Procter at Amherstburg. 
General Hull, after issuing his futile proclamation^ 
seems to have remained closely in his quarters at 
Sandwich, evidently afraid to venture too far from 
Fort Detroit. He had not met with the encourage- 
ment he expected from the settlers of Essex and 
Kent. Although some malcontents had joined his 
standard, the majority of the inhabitants had re- 
mained firm in their allegiance to Great Britain. 
An advance upon Fort Maiden (Amherstburg) had 
been expected, but three detachments of Americans 
on three successive days had been foiled in their 
attempt to cross the river Canard, scarcely four 
miles from that place. On July 22nd General Hull 



wrote to Washington: "If Maiden were in our 
possession, I could inarch the army to Niagara or 
York in a very short time." Sir George Prevost on 
the 27th of the same month had written to Brock : 
"The possession of Maiden, which I consider 
means Amherstbm'g, appears a favourable object 
with the government of the United States. I sin- 
cerely hope you will disappoint them." 

The fort of Amherstburg could not, from the 
description given of it, have sustained a siege. 
" Quadrangle in form, four bastions alone flanked a 
dry ditch, offering little obstacle to a determined 
enemy. This passed, there was but a single line of 
picketing, perforated with loopholes for musketry, 
and supported by a slight breastwork. All the 
buildings within were of wood, covered with pine 
shingles of extreme thinness."^ Colonel St. George, 
who was in command there, well knew the disad- 
vantage of awaiting the enemy in this position, and 
sallied out with his small garrison to guard the 
approaches to the river Canard. In one of the slight 
skirmishes that occurred between his troops and an 
advance body of American cavalry and infantry, 
the first blood was shed in the war of 1812. It was 
that of a private of the 41st, named Hancock, who 
was killed when defending a bridge, while his com- 
panion Dean was carried off a prisoner to Detroit.^ 

1 Ricliardson in "The War of 1812." 

* The brave conduct of the two privates was thus noticed in a 
general order, dated Quebec, August 6th : "The commander of the 
forces takes great pleasure in also announcing to the troops that the 


Their determined resistance gave time for a rein- 
forcement of Indians led by Tecumseh to arrive, 
whose appearance and v^ild shouts carried such a 
panic among the Americans that they retired in 
disorder. This was Tecumseh's first exploit as an 
ally. As soon as Colonel Procter arrived he sent the 
chief with a band of Indians and a detachment of 
the 41st under Major Muir across the river to 
Brownstown, a place about twenty-five miles south 
of Detroit, and nearly opposite Amherstburg. The 
object of the expedition was to intercept a body of 
the enemy, which was marching from Detroit as 
an escort for the mail, and also to meet and convoy 
a supply of provisions from the river Raisin. The 
American troops consisted of about two hundred 
Ohio volunteers, under Major Van Home. Tecum- 
seh with about twenty-five Indians, learning from 
their scouts the route the Americans had taken, 
formed an ambuscade three miles from Brownstown 
and lined the thick woods on either side of the 
road. When Van Home with the mounted riflemen 

enemy under Brigadier-General Hull have been repulsed in three 
attacks made on the 18th, 19th and 20th of last month upon part of 
the garrison of Amherstburg, on the river Canard, in which attacks 
His Majesty's 41st Regiment have particularly distinguished themselves. 
In justice to that corps. His Excellency wishes particularly to call the 
attention of the troops to the heroism and self-devotion displayed by 
two privates, who being left as sentinels when the party to which they 
belonged had retired, contrived to maintain their station against the 
whole of the enemy's force, until they both fell, when one of them, 
whose arm had been broken, again raising himself, opposed with his 
bayonet those advancing against him until overwhelmed by numbers." 



appeared, the Indians opened a deadly fire, killing 
twenty of the number, including five officers, and 
wounding as many more. The Americans sought 
safety in flight, and the despatches and correspond- 
ence from Detroit fell into the hands of Tecumseh, 
who lost only one man in the encounter. The 
provision train, with cattle and other supphes for 
Detroit, in charge of Captain Brush, was also inter- 
cepted by the Indians. This was most discouraging 
for General Hull, who received all his provisions 
and supplies fi:om Ohio by the rivers Raisin and 
Miami. News of the reverse followed quickly on the 
news of the loss of Michilimackinac, which Hull 
said let loose the northern hive of Indians on his 
frontier. So discouraged was he that on July 7th 
and 8th he abandoned Sandwich in order to con- 
centrate his forces at Detroit. 

He then sent a detachment of six hundred men 
with some artillery to dislodge the British from 
Brownstown. These met at Maguaga, fourteen 
miles below Detroit, a company of the 41st under 
Major Muir, with about sixty militia and two hun- 
dred Indians. A sharp engagement ensued, in which 
the Americans were successful, and the British had 
to retire to their boats. Major Richardson, who was 
present as a subaltern on this occasion, has given 
a detailed account of this skirmish, to which the 
Americans seem to attach undue importance. He 
says : — 

"On the morning of Sunday, the 9th, the wild 


and distant cry of our Indian scouts gave us to 
understand that the enemy were advancing. In the 
course of ten minutes the Indians appeared issuing 
from the wood, bounding hke wild deer chased by 
the huntsman, and uttering that peculiar shout 
which is known among themselves as the 'news 
cry.' From them we ascertained that a strong col- 
umn of the enemy, cavalry and infantry, were on 
their march to attack us, but that the difficulty of 
transporting their guns rendered it improbable that 
they could reach our position before night, although 
then only at a distance of eight miles. It being in- 
stantly decided on to meet them, the detachment 
was speedily under arms and on its march for Ma- 
guaga, a small Indian village distant about a league. 
Having taken up a position about a quarter of a 
mile beyond Maguaga, our dispositions of defence 
were speedily made, the rusthng of the leaves alone 
breaking on the silence which reigned throughout 
our line. Following the example of the Indians, we 
lay reclined on the ground, in order to avoid being 
perceived until within a few yards of the enemy. 
While awaiting in this manner the approach of 
the column, our little force was increased by the 
arrival of Lieutenant Bullock of the 41st Grena- 
diers, who, with a small detachment of twenty men 
of his own company, twenty Light Infantry, and 
twenty Battalion men, had been urged forward by 
General Brock from the headquarters of the regi- 
ment then stationed at Fort George, for the pur- 



pose of reinforcing the little garrison of Amherst- 
burg, and who, having reached their destination the 
preceding day, had been despatched by Colonel 
Procter to strengthen us. Shortly the report of a 
single shot echoed through the wood, and the in- 
stant afterwards the loud and terrific yells of the 
Indians, followed by a heavy and desultory fire, 
apprised us that they were engaged. The action 
then became general along our hne, and continued 
for half an hour without producing any material 
advantage, when, unluckily, a body of Indians that 
had been detached to a small wood about five hun- 
dred yards distant from our right, were taken by 
the troops for a corps of the enemy endeavouring 
to turn their flank. In vain we called out to them 
that they were our Indians. The fire which should 
have been reserved for their foes was turned upon 
their fi-iends, who, falling into the same error, re- 
turned it with equal spirit. The fact was, they had 
been compelled to retire before a superior force, and 
the movement made by them had given rise to the 
error. Closely pressed in front by an almost invis- 
ible foe, and on the point of being taken in the rear 
as was falsely imagined, the troops were at length 
compelled to yield to circumstance and number. 

"Although our retreat in consequence of this 
unfortunate misapprehension, commenced in some 
disorder, this was soon restored, when Major Muir, 
who had been wounded early in the engagement, 
succeeded in rallying his men and forming them on 


the brow of a hill which commanded a short and 
narrow bridge intersecting the high road and cross- 
ing a morass, over which the enemy's guns must 
necessarily pass. This was about a quarter of a mile 
in the rear of the position we had previously occu- 
pied. Here we remained at least fifteen minutes, 
when, finding that the Americans did not make 
their appearance as expected, Major Muir, whose 
communication with Tecumseh had been cut off, 
and who heard some smart firing in the woods 
beyond his left, naturally inferred that the enemy 
were pushing the Indians in that quarter with a 
view of turning his flank, gaining the high road in 
our rear, and thus cutting off our retreat. The order 
was then given to retire, which we certainly did at 
the double quick, without being followed by the 
enemy, who suffered us to gain our boats without 
further molestation. . . . 

"In this skirmish we had first an opportunity of 
perceiving the extreme disadvantage of opposing 
regular troops to the enemy in the woods. Ac- 
customed to the use of the rifle from his infancy, 
dwelUng in a measure amid forests with the intri- 
cacies of which he is wholly acquainted, and pos- 
sessing the advantage of a dress which renders him 
almost undistinguishable to the eye of a European, 
the American marksman enters with comparative 
security into a contest with the English soldier, 
whose glaring habiliment and accoutrements are 
objects too conspicuous to be missed, while his 



utter ignorance of a mode of warfare in which 
courage and discipline are of no avail, renders the 
struggle for mastery even more unequal. The prin- 
cipal armies to which the Right Division was op- 
posed during the war consisted not of regular and 
well disciplined troops, but levies of men taken 
from the forests of Ohio and Kentucky, scarcely 
inferior as riflemen to the Indians. Dressed in 
woollen frocks of a gray colour, and trained to 
cover their bodies behind the trees from which 
they fired, without exposing more of their persons 
than was absolutely necessary for their aim, they 
afforded us on more than one occasion the most 
convincing proofs that vdthout the assistance of the 
Indian warriors the defence of so great a portion of 
western Canada as was entrusted to the charge of 
the numerically feeble Right Division would have 
proved a duty of great difficulty and doubt." 

In this engagement at Maguaga, the American 
forces consisted, according to their own report, of 
the 4th United States Infantry, except one com- 
pany left at Sandwich, a small detachment of the 
1st Infantry, and some artillerymen, in all about 
three hundred regulars, and sixty men of the Michi- 
gan Militia, forty Dragoons, and three hundred 
riflemen of the Ohio Volunteers. The British force 
was about a hundred men of the 41st Regiment, 
the reinforcement of sixty men of the Grenadier 
Company under Lieutenant Bullock, and a few 
militia — Richardson says forty or fifty. The number 


of Indians is variously stated. It was probably about 
two hundred, although in the American account 
they give the number as four hundred and fifty.^ 
As an offset to the reverse of Maguaga, Lieu- 
tenant Rolette, on August 7th, with boats from 
the Queen Charlotte and Hunter, had attacked and 
captured a convoy of eleven bateaux on their way 
from Maguaga to Detroit, having on board fifty 
wounded men from Brownstown, some prisoners, 
and a quantity of provisions and baggage. 

The news of the capture of Michilimackinac 
was the means of largely augmenting Tecumseh's 
forces, for as soon as he heard of its downfall he 
despatched runners to all his associate tribes, bid- 
ding them assemble at Fort Maiden immediately, 
and telling them that the Americans, by not march- 
ing on Maiden and by the easy discomfiture of sev- 
eral detachments, had shown they would not fight; 
that the braves should come forward with all speed 
so as to participate in the capture of the army and 
share in the plunder, which would be great. His 
appeal was promptly responded to, and by August 
15th seven hundred warriors had joined him. 

1 Although the skirmish at Maguaga ended in the retreat of the 
British, their loss in killed and wounded was much less than that of 
the enemy. General Hull's despatch of August 13th puts the American 
loss at eighteen killed and sixty-one wounded. Colonel Procter's de- 
spatch of the 11th says the British loss including regulars, militia, and 
Indians, was six killed, twenty-one wounded, two missing. 




Que faut-il pour vaincre les ennemis de la patrie? De I'audacej 
encore de I'audace, et toujours de I'audace. — Danton. 

THE events described in the last chapter show 
the condition of affairs when General Brock 
arrived at Amherstburg. He immediately sum- 
moned a council of war to meet at Colonel Elliott's 
quarters. It was here that he first met his Indian 
ally, Tecumseh, and both seem to have been favour- 
ably impressed with each other. After hearing what 
had happened at Brownstown and Maguaga, the 
general explained to the savage warrior his inten- 
tion of immediately advancing upon Detroit. Te- 
cumseh, taking a roll of birch bark, spread it on 
the ground, and with his scalping knife etched 
upon the bark a plan of the country, its hills, 
woods, morasses and roads. One who was present 
at the meeting reported Tecum seh's speech on the 
occasion. He said: "I have fought against the ene- 
mies of our great father, the king, beyond the great 
lakes, and they have never seen my back. I am 
come here to fight his enemies on this side the 
great salt lake, and now desire with my soldiers to 
take lessons from you and your warriors that we 
may learn how to make war in these great forests." 



The commanding figure and fine countenance of 
General Brock seemed to strike the savage chief, 
and turning round to his people he stretched out 
his hand, exclaiming in his own tongue, "This is a 

It is stated that although Tecumseh could speak 
English, he never spoke any language but his own 
at any council or when in the presence of any officer 
or agent of a government, preferring to make use 
of an interpreter. He held the opinion that the 
honour of his people and race required official in- 
tercourse to be carried on in the Shawanese tongue. 
He is described as being of about five feet nine 
inches in height, very erect, with an oval face, 
clear hazel eyes, straight nose, and a Napoleonic 
mouth, finely formed and expressive. He was in- 
variably dressed in tanned buckskin made in the 
usual Indian fashion, that is, a fringed hunting 
frock descending to the knee, over underclothes of 
the same material. Leggings and moccasins and a 
mantle, also of buckskin, completed the costume. 
In his belt was a silver-mounted tomahawk, also a 
knife in a strong leather case. On the occasion of 
their first interview General Brock presented Te- 
cumseh with his sash, but the next morning he 
appeared without it. When asked the reason, he 
said an abler warrior than himself, the Wyandot 
chief Roundhead, was present, and he had trans- 
ferred it to him. This little piece of diplomacy 
shows how well Tecumseh understood the art of 


keeping his savage allies in good humour. In a 
letter to Lord Liverpool, General Brock gives his 
impression of the chief. He writes: "Among the 
Indians whom 1 found at Amherstburg, who had 
arrived from distant parts of the country, were 
some extraordinary characters. He who attracted 
most of my attention was the Shawanese chief, 
Tecumseh, brother to the prophet, who for the last 
two years has carried on, contrary to our remon- 
strances, an active warfare against the United States. 
A more sagacious or more gallant warrior does not 
exist. He was the admiration of every one who con- 
versed with him. From a Hfe of dissipation, he has 
not only become in every respect abstemious, but 
has Hkewise prevailed on all his nation and many of 
the other tribes to follow his example." 

On August 14th, at Amherstburg, General Brock 
issued the following general order: "The troops in 
the western district will be formed into three brig- 
ades. 1st Brigade, under Lieutenant- Colonel St. 
George, to consist of a detachment of the Royal 
Newfoundland Regiment, and of the Kent and 
1st and 2nd Regiments of Essex Militia; 2nd 
Brigade, under Major Chambers, to consist of fifty 
men of the 41st Regiment, and the whole of the 
detachments of the York, Lincoln, Oxford, and 
Norfolk Militia; 3rd Brigade, under Major Tallon, 
to consist of the remainder of the 41st Regiment. 
Colonel Procter will have charge of the whole line 
under the orders of the major-general. James Givins, 



late captain of the 5th Regiment, is appointed pro- 
vincial aide-de-camp, with the rank of major of the 

General Brock called together his principal offi- 
cers to confer with them on the proposed crossing 
of the river to attack Fort Detroit. He had already- 
made up his own mind, but only one officer, the 
quartermaster-general, Colonel Nichol, agreed with 
him as to the advisability of the enterprise. The 
general then said: "I have decided on crossing, and 
now, gentlemen, instead of any further advice, I 
entreat of you to give me your cordial and hearty 
support." If the ideal officer is the man who can 
decide rightly what to do in any situation of war, 
who is able to make up his mind quickly what 
course to adopt and how to carry it out, then Isaac 
Brock was that ideal officer. Nature had given him 
the hero's outfit, — "courage and the faculty to do." 

Early on August 15th orders were given to ad- 
vance at once to Sandwich, sixteen miles from Am- 
herstburg and four miles below Detroit. The troops 
arrived the same day at their destination. A detach- 
ment of two hundred and fifty Americans, left by 
General Hull in a fort on the Canadian side, evacu- 
ated it on the approach of the British, and crossed 
the river to the American side. General Brock 
occupied as headquarters Colonel Baby's house, so 
lately vacated by General Hull. Preparations had 
already been made for bombarding Detroit, for 
batteries had been constructed under the superin- 


tendence of Captain Dixon, of the Royal Engineers. 
They were equipped for one 18-pounder, two 12 J 
and two 5j-inch mortars. It is scarcely to be won- 
dered at that doubts were felt as to the possibility 
of crossing the river to attack a strong fort with 
the scanty force at the command of the British 
general. He had but two hundred and fifty of the 
41st Regiment, fifty of the Royal Newfoundland 
Regiment, thirty Royal Artillery, four hundred 
militia, and about seven hundred Indians. For ar- 
tillery there were but five guns — three 6-pounders 
and two 3-pounders. In the Detroit River there 
were two British gunboats, one the Queen Char- 
lotte (Captain Finnis) a sloop of war armed with 
eighteen 24-pounders, the other the brig Hunter. 
On the Canadian side of the river, directly opposite 
Detroit, was the battery under the command of 
Captain Dixon. The river at Sandwich is about 
three-quarters of a mile wide. 

The American general had under his command 
two troops of cavalry, one company of artillery, 
the 4th United States Regiment, detachments of 
the 1st and 3rd Regiments of the regular army of 
volunteers, three regiments of Ohio militia and 
one of the Michigan territory. In all there were 
about two thousand men posted in and around the 
fort, while a detachment of three hundred and sixty 
men under Colonel McArthur, who had left for the 
river Raisin, had been recalled and were now on 
their way back. All these troops were well armed. 



The fort was defended by twenty-six pieces of 
ordnance of large calibre. There was an abundance 
of ammunition, as Colonel Cass's report to the 
secretary of war showed. He stated that they had 
four hundred rounds of 24-pound shot fixed, and 
about one hundred thousand cartridges made. There 
were also forty barrels of powder and two thousand 
five hundred stand of arms. 

It was indeed a bold enterprise to attempt to 
take the place by assault. As General Brock said 
afterwards, he made a cool calculation of the pours 
and contres, and was helped in his decision by the 
letters that had fallen into his hands at Brownstown 
addressed to the secretary of war ; and also by the 
private letters of hundreds of the American army 
to their friends. These showed that confidence in 
General Hull was gone, and that despondency pre- 
vailed throughout the fort. 

When General Brock arrived at Sandwich on 
the morning of August 15th, he determined at once 
to carry out his plan. From his headquarters he 
penned a missive summoning the American general 
to surrender. In coolness and boldness it is only 
equalled by that of Nelson to the Crown Prince at 
Copenhagen. Possibly Brock thought of that day 
when he stood by England's great admiral and saw 
him write his demand for the surrender of the 
Danish forts. In almost similar terms the British 
general wrote: " The force at my disposal authorizes 
me to require of you the immediate surrender of 


Fort Detroit. It is far from my inclination to join 
in a war of extermination, but you must be aware 
that the numerous body of Indians who have at- 
tached themselves to my troops will be beyond my 
control the moment the contest commences." 

This letter was taken to Fort Detroit by the 
two aides-de-camp. Captain Glegg and Lieutenant- 
Colonel Macdonell. General Hull refused to see 
them, and after keeping them waiting about two 
hours, returned this answer: " I have received your 
letter of this date. I have no other reply to make 
than to inform you that I am prepared to meet any 
force which may be at your disposal, and any con- 
sequences which may result from any exertion of it 
you may think proper to make." 

On the receipt of this the batteries were ordered 
to open fire upon the fort, which apparently threw 
the enemy into some confusion. An effort was made 
to return the fire from the opposite bank, but with- 
out effect. No damage was done on either side. All 
night the troops in Sandwich lay on their arms, 
prepared to cross the river at early dawn. Under 
the cover of darkness, six hundred Indians led by 
Tecumseh crossed over during the night, and were 
ordered to attack the enemy in flank and rear if 
they should oppose the landing of the troops. At 
six o'clock on Sunday, the 16th, three hundred 
regulars and four hundred militia under Brock's 
immediate command, were embarked in boats and 
canoes, carrying with them five pieces of hght 



artillery, and were landed at Springwells, four 
miles below Detroit. One who was present writes: 
"A soft August sun was just rising as we gained 
the centre of the river, and the view at the moment 
was certainly very animated and exciting, for amid 
the little squadron of boats and scows conveying 
the troops and artillery were mixed numerous 
canoes filled with Indian warriors decorated in their 
half-nakedness for the occasion, and uttering yells 
of mingled defiance of their foes and encourage- 
ment of the soldiery. Above us again were to be seen 
and heard the flashes and thunder of the artillery 
from our batteries, which, as on the preceding day, 
were but feebly replied to by the enemy, while the 
gay flags of the Queen Charlotte, drooping in the 
breezeless, yet not oppressive air, and playing on 
the calm surface of the river seemed to give earnest 
of success, and inspired every bosom. "^ 

Years before Isaac Brock had crossed the river on a 
peaceftil visit to this garden of the West. The land- 
scape was the same but what a change had come ! 
There were still the settlers' homesteads, the or- 
chards laden with fruit, the vines heavy with grapes, 
the fields of rich grass that lined the water's edge. 
But the flower-decked homes were deserted. Through 
the orchards gleamed the bayonets of armed men. 
Under the vines lurked the half-naked savage ready 
for his cruel work. Instead of the welcome he had 
once received, guns pointed their grim muzzles 

1 Richardson, in ''The War of 1812." 


down the road. The women and children who 
had met him with smiles before were gathered 
trembling in the fort, and instead of the church 
bells calling them to prayer this Sunday morning, 
came the dull boom of the cannon from the shore 
and fort. 

The road from Springwells passed up across the 
ground between the fort and the river. A few 
village dwellings were on the river side of the road, 
and a few farm houses on the west side. Fronting 
the road and commanding the approach in that 
direction were two 24-pound field guns, two 12- 
pound iron and two 6-pound brass guns. The 1st 
Regiment of Ohio volunteers was posted in an 
orchard on the west ; next to them, extending to 
the west curtain of the fort, was the 2nd Regiment, 
and then the 3rd Regiment covering the north-west 
bastion and wagon train ; while in the fort was the 
entire 4th United States Regiment, and a company 
of artillery. When the troops had crossed the river 
they formed and advanced in column. General 
Brock leading. Colonel Nichol went up to him and 
said : " Pardon me, General, but I cannot forbear 
entreating you not to expose yourself thus. If we 
lose you, we lose all. Let me pray you to allow the 
troops to pass on led by their own officers ;" but the 
only answer he received was, " Master Nichol, I 
duly appreciate the advice you give me, but I feel 
that in addition to their sense of loyalty and duty, 
many here follow me from personal regard, and 



I will never ask them to go where I do not lead 

The Indians under Tecumseh moved through 
the skirt of the woods covering the left flank, while 
the right rested on the river protected by the Queen 
Charlotte. The guns of the fort commanded the 
road by which Brock led his men, and there seemed 
no reason why a withering fire should not have met 
them.* General Brock continued the advance until 
within three-quarters of a mile of the fort, and then 
deployed to the left through a field to a house 
about three hundred yards from the road, which he 
selected as his headquarters. In this position the 
troops were covered. He then ascended the rising 
ground to reconnoitre. Scarcely had he done so 
when an officer bearing a white flag was seen 
coming from the point at which were stationed tlie 
threatening guns. 

General Brock had not miscalculated the effect 
of the boldness of his advance. The explanation of 

* "The column having been foi-med we moved forward by sections, at 
nearly double distance, iu order to give to our little force a more im- 
posing appearance. Lieutenant Bullock commanded the advance guard, 
and immediately in rear of this, and preceding the column, were the 
light artillery (three 6 and two 3-pounders) with which only we ad- 
vanced against the enemy's fortress. Nothing but the boldness of the 
enterprise could have assured its success, ^^^len within a mile and a 
half of the rising ground we distinctly saw two long heavy guns planted 
in the road, and around them the gunners with their fuses burning. 
At each moment we expected they would be fired, yet although it was 
evident the discharge must literally have swept our small but dense 
column, there was neither halt nor indecision perceptible. Had there 
been the slightest wavering or appearance of confusion in the men, the 



the pusillanimous conduct of the American general 
is not hard to find. The cannonade from the battery 
on the Canadian side had opened again early on the 
morning of the 16th, and the true range having 
been found, some round shot fell into the fort, 
kilHng and wounding several. Among the killed 
was Lieutenant Hanks, who had been in command 
at Michilimackinac, and was then a prisoner on 
parole. Fort Detroit at the time was full of women 
and children and decrepit men from the surrounding 
country who had sought refuge from the Indians, 
believing there would be an indiscriminate slaughter. 
The fear of the Indians, the presence of some mem- 
bers of his own family in the fort, perhaps the 
entreaties of the non-combatants, combined to make 
General Hull decide on an immediate surrender. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell and Captain Glegg 
accompanied Captain Hull, the bearer of the flag of 
truce, back to the fort to arrange the terms of the 
capitulation. At mid-day of the 16th the British 
troops marched in. The territory of Michigan, the 

enemy, who were closely watching us, and who seemed intimidated by 
the confidence of our advance, would not have failed to profit by the 
discovery, and fearful, in such case, must have been the havoc." — 

General Brock says in nis despatch to the commander-in-chief: 
*' I crossed the river with an intention of waiting in a strong position 
the efi'ect of our force upon the enemy's camp, and in hopes of com- 
pelling him to meet us in the field ; but receiving information upon 
landing that Colonel McArthur, an officer of high reputation, had left 
the garrison three days before with a detachment oi five hundred men, 
and hearing soon afterwards that his cavalry had been seen that morn- 
ing three miles in our rear, I decided on an immediate attack." 



fort with thirty-seven pieces of ordnance, the brig 
Adams were ceded to the British. Two thousand 
five hundred American troops became prisoners 
of war. Four hundred rounds of 24-pound shot, 
one hundred thousand cartridges, and two thousand 
five hundred stand of arms, much needed by the 
Canadian mihtia, also fell into General Brock's 

He wrote to his friend Major Evans, on the 17th. 
"Detroit is ours, and with it the whole Michigan 
territory, the army prisoners of war. The force you 
so skilfully prepared and forwarded to me at so 
much risk, met me at Point aux Pins in high 
spirits and most effective state. Your thought of 
clothing the militia in the 41st's cast-ofF clothing 
proved a most happy one, it having more than 
doubled our own regular force to the enemy's 

At the time of the surrender large reinforcements 
were on their way to General Hull, and had it not 
been for General Brock's bold and rapid advance, 
western Canada would undoubtedly have fallen, 
and perhaps in consequence the rest of the country 
also. The general well deserved the praise he 
received. In nineteen days he had met his legis- 
lature, settled the public business of the province, 
had made a troublesome journey of three hundred 
miles by land and water, and, without the loss of a 
man, had won for the British Crown a territory 
almost equal in size to the province of Upper 


Canada. Colonel Cass, the American quartermaster- 
general, in his report to the secretary of war at 
Washington said ; " That we were far superior to 
the enemy, that upon any ordinary principle of 
calculation we would have defeated them, the 
wounded and indignant feelings of every man there 
will testify. I was informed by General Hull the 
morning after the capitulation, that the British 
forces consisted of eighteen hundred regulars, and 
that he surrendered to prevent the effusion of 
human blood. That he magnified their regular force 
nearly five fold there can be no doubt. Whether 
the philanthropical reason assigned by him is a 
sufficient justification for surrendering a fortified 
town, an army and a territory is for the governor to 
determine. Confident I am that had the courage 
and conduct of the general been equal to the spirit 
and zeal of the troops, the event would have been 
briUiant and successful as it is now disastrous and 
dishonourable. " 

After the surrender Tecumseh came to General 
Brock and said: " I have heard much of your fame, 
and am happy again to shake by the hand a brave 
brother warrior. The Americans endeavour to give 
us a mean opinion of British generals, but we have 
been the witness of your valour. In crossing the 
river to attack the enemy we observed you from a 
distance standing the whole time in an erect position, 
and when the boats reached the shore you were 
among the first who jumped on land. Your bold 



and sudden movement frightened the enemy, and 
you compelled them to surrender to half their own 

On the morning of August 17th the victory was 
celebrated by firing a salute from the esplanade in 
front of the fort, while a general parade of the 
British troops was held by General Brock, who 
with his staff appeared in full dress to receive the 
spoils they had won. The salute from the fort was 
returned by the guns of the Queen Charlotte which 
"dressed with flags, and with streamers flaunting 
proudly, sailed up the stream." Nor was the vic- 
torious general forgetful of those whose conduct in 
their several positions deserved praise at his hands. 
Dean, the private of the 41st, who had so bravely 
kept the bridge at the Canard, and had been taken 
a prisoner to Detroit, was released from the guard- 
room by General Brock himself, called before the 
assembled troops and warmly commended. The 
general shook him by the hand and declared that he 
was indeed an honour to the service. In the orders 
of the day, Isaac Brock expressed his admiration of 
the conduct of the several companies of the militia 
who had accompanied him, and requested Major 
Salmon, Captains Hatt, Heward, Bostwick and 
Robinson to assure the officers and men under 
their respective commands that their services had 
been duly appreciated, and would never be for- 
gotten. It was the first enterprise in which the 
militia had been engaged, and its success imparted 


confidence. Isaac Brock was the idol of the hour. 
The untrained men he had led felt there was one 
standing by them on whom they could depend for 
sure guidance. He had taught them the value of a 
citizen soldiery who in the hour of danger could be 
a "tough and stubborn barrier between an invading 
force and the homes and hearths of the nation." 

That the Americans had anticipated a very dif- 
ferent result is easily seen by the letters of their 
public men. Ex-President Jefferson had written: 
"The acquisition of Canada as far as Quebec will 
be a mere matter of marching, and will give us 
experience for the attack on Halifax and the final 
expulsion of England from the continent." The 
scene on the esplanade of Detroit on that 17th of 
August was a forcible answer to the boastful pre- 

To Captain Glegg, A.D.C., was given the honour 
of bearing to Quebec General Brock's despatches to 
the commander-in-chief, together with the colours 
of the 4th United States Regiment. Another young 
officer of the militia who had done good service at 
Captain Dixon's battery, was entrusted with des- 
patches bearing the good tidings to the Talbot 
Settlement. This was George Ryerson of the 1st 
Norfolk Militia, of which regiment his father was 
the colonel. Lieutenant Ryerson rode all day 
through the woods and by the river Thames, and 
when night fell found himself in an Indian en- 
campment occupied only by women and children 



and some aged warriors, who received the good 
news with shouts of joy, and chanted all night 
their songs of victory. 

One short message General Brock sent to his 
brothers in England: "Rejoice at my good fortune, 
and join with me in prayers to heaven. Let me hear 
that you are all united and happy." This letter was 
add essed to Irving Brock and reached him on 
Oct >ber 13th. 




GENERAL BROCK lost no time in making 
preparations to return to the Niagara frontier, 
where he hoped to strike another sudden blow. He 
dismissed the militia of Michigan to their homes, 
placed the volunteers on parole, and sent General 
Hull with a thousand of his regular troops in boats 
to Fort Erie, en route to Montreal as prisoners of 
war. After issuing a proclamation to the inhabit- 
ants of the Michigan territory, by which their 
private property was secured and their laws and 
religion confirmed, he set out on his return journey 
on August 18th. On his voyage down Lake Erie in 
the schooner Chip})ewa he was met by the Lady 
Prevost, whose commander gave him the first in- 
telligence of the armistice unfortunately concluded 
with General Dearborn. 

General Brock could not conceal his regret and 
mortification, as the armistice prevented an attack 
on Sacketts Harbour which he had contemplated. 
At that place vessels were being fitted out whose con- 
structiori would immensely strengthen the enemy's 
position on Lake Ontario, of which it was of the 
first importance to hold the mastery. He had given 



orders to Colonel Procter who was left in command 
at Detroit, to send a detachment of the 41st to join 
with the Indians in an expedition against Fort 
Wayne, a supply post in the Miami country. 
Brock was now compelled to write and request him 
on account of the armistice to postpone the attack, 
and also to keep the Indians back from predatory 
excursions on their own account. On August 25th 
General Brock arrived at Fort George, and on the 
27th at York, where he was received in triumph. 
Addresses of welcome and letters of congratulation 
were showered upon him. One^ wrote: "There is 
something so fabulous in the report of a handful of 
troops supported by a few raw miUtia leaving their 
strong post to invade an enemy of double the 
number in his own fortress and making them all 
prisoners without the loss of a man, that it seems to 
me the people of England will be incredulous until 
they see the exterminating boaster a prisoner in 
London. I shall hardly sleep until I have the satis- 
faction of hearing particulars of the wonderful 
excursion, for it must not be called a campaign. 
The veni, vidi, vici is again the faithful report. Your 
good fortune in one instance is singular, for if ydur 
zeal had been thwarted by such adverse winds 
as frequently occur on the lake, the armistice might 
have intercepted your career." 

In answer to the address from the people of 
York, General Brock said with characteristic sim- 

^ Chief Justice Powell. 



plicity: "Gentlemen, I cannot but feel highly 
gratified by this expression of esteem for myself; 
but in justice to the brave men at whose head I 
marched against the enemy, I must beg leave to 
direct your attention to them as the proper objects 
of your gratitude. It was a confidence founded on 
their loyalty, zeal and valour that determined me 
to adopt the plan of operations which led to so 
fortunate a termination. Allow me to congratulate 
you gentlemen at having sent out from among 
yourselves a portion of that gallant band, and that 
at such a period a spirit has manifested itself on 
which you may confidently repose your hopes of 
future security." 

It was by such unassuming, sincere words that 
Brock endeared himself to the people of Canada. 
The victory he had won had an immediate moral 
effect. It has been well said that it was as if an elec- 
tric shock had passed through the country, awing 
the disaffected and animating the timid and waver- 
ing. The success at Detroit caused the Six Nation 
Indians on the Grand River to drop their policy of 
neutrality and to take an active part on the British 
side. If General Brock's hands had not been tied, 
he would doubtless have swept the frontier from 
Sandusky to St. Regis. 

A letter from John Lovett, secretary to General 
Van Rensselaer, describes the arrival of the prison- 
ers from Detroit on their way to Fort George, and 
shows the feeling that prevailed in the enemy's 



camp. "Yesterday the first we saw was a guard 
of about fifty men passing with some wagons on 
the opposite shore. It was the victorious Brock 
returning to Fort George. He sent over Colonel 
Macdonell, his aide-de-camp, and INIajor Evans, 
two strapping lads in scarlet and gold, to make 
a communication to General Van Rensselaer. This 
part of the country now thinks their whole salvation 
rests upon our little raw army. I think I know the 
fact that after Brock had taken Hull he expressed 
his determination to return and take Niagara. I 
think his mind is altered by the armistice, but he 
can take Niagara any hour he pleases. Yes, my 
friend, we cannot defend Niagara one hour, and as 
for our present camp, I now write with an eye on a 
single gun on yon hill in Queenston which would 
rout us all in three minutes. The Ohio officers' 
prisoners were also last evening with us, and say 
that the Indians with Brock are the finest fellows 
they ever saw. They are commanded by the 
prophet's brother Tecumseh. He is hourly expected 
at Fort George, and it is said the tawny host is to 
follow. Well, be it so, one thing our friends may be 
assured of, we are not scared yet. We shall never 
be 'Hulled.' Our general is thoughtful but firm."^ 

Of the loss of Detroit the same officer wrote 
on the 28th : " This event has animated Canada 
beyond anything you can conceive. It has put a 
serious face on our Indians on the whole frontier. 

* From John Lovett to J. Alexander, dated August 26th, 1812. 



Tecumseh, the prophet's brother, a warrior of 
almost unbounded influence, now openly holds 
that the Great Spirit intended Ohio River for the 
boundary between his white and red children, 
that many of the first warriors have always thought 
so, but a cloud hung over the eyes of the tribes 
and they could not see what the Great Spirit 
meant, that General Brock has now torn away 
the cloud and the Indians see clearly that all 
the white people must go back east of the Ohio. 
Yesterday I beheld such a sight as God knows 
I never expected to see, and He only knows 
the sensation it created in my heart. I saw my 
countrymen, free born Americans, robbed of the 
inheritance which their fathers bequeathed them, 
stripped of the arms which achieved our independ- 
ence, and marched into a strange land by hundreds 
as black cattle for the market. Before and behind, 
on the right and the left, their proud victors gleamed 
in arms, their heads erect in the pride of victory. I 
think the line, including wagons, was half a mile 
long. The sensations the scene produced in our 
camp were inexpressible, mortification, indignation, 
apprehension, suspicion, jealousy, rage, madness. It 
was a sad day, but the poor fellows went last 
evening on board the shipping, and I presume 
passed over to York. I saw a gentleman who was 
present when General Hull alighted from his car- 
riage at Fort George, hale, corpulent, and ap- 
parently in high spirits. He goes to Quebec," 



One other reverse the Americans had met with 
this month in the loss of Fort Dearborn, (Chicago). 
The Indians had attacked it, massacred the garrison, 
and destroyed it by fire. 

On August 30th Brock left by a schooner for 
Kingston in order to review the militia there. On 
the way he wrote to his brothers. It was almost the 
last letter they were to receive from him, and it 
breathes throughout a spirit of love and of yearn- 
ing that the unhappy differences between them 
might be healed. 

Lake Ontario, September 3rd. — " You will have 
heard of the complete success which attended the 
efforts I directed against Detroit. I have received 
so many letters from people whose opinion I value, 
expressive of their admiration of the exploit, that I 
begin to attach to it more importance than I was 
at first inclined. Should the affair be viewed in 
England in the light it is here, I cannot fail of 
meeting reward and escaping the honour of being 
placed high on a shelf never to be taken down. 
Some say that nothing could have been more 
desperate than the measure ; but I answer that the 
state of the province admitted of nothing but 
desperate remedies. I got possession of the letters 
of my antagonist addressed to the secretary of 
war, and also of the sentiments which hundreds 
of his army uttered to their friends. Confidence 
in the general was gone, and evident despondency 
prevailed throughout. I have succeeded beyond 


expectation. I crossed the river contrary to the 
opinion of Colonel Procter. It is therefore no 
wonder that envy should attribute to good fortune 
what in justice to my own discernment, I must say, 
proceeded from a cool calculation of the pours and 
contres. It is supposed that the value of the articles 
captured will amount to thirty or forty thousand 
pounds. In that case, my proportion will be some- 
thing considerable. If it enables me to contribute to 
your comfort and happiness, I shall esteem it my 
highest reward. 

"When I returned heaven thanks for my amaz- 
ing success, I thought of you all. You appeared to 
me happy — your late sorrows forgotten; and I felt 
as if you acknowledged that the many benefits, 
which for a series of years I received from you, 
were not unworthily bestowed. Let me know, my 
dearest brothers, that you are all again united. The 
want of union was nearly losing this province with- 
out a struggle, and be assured it operates in the 
same way in families. 

"A cessation of hostilities has taken place along 
this frontier. Should peace follow the measure all 
wiU be well; if hostihties recommence, nothing 
could be more unfortunate than this pause. 

"I shall see Vincent, I hope, this evening at 
Kingston. He is appointed to the command of that 
post, a most important one. I have withdrawn 
Plenderleath from Niagara to assist him. James 
Brock is likewise at Kingston. The 41st is an 



uncommonly fine regiment, but, with few excep- 
tions, badly officered." 

At Kingston, where he arrived on the morning 
of September 4th, General Brock was also received 
with demonstrations of joy. In answer to the ad- 
dress presented to him there, he said: "Nothing 
but the confidence which the admirable conduct of 
the York and Lincoln Regiments of militia excited, 
could have induced me to undertake an expedition 
such as lately terminated so much to the advantage 
of the country. I have reason, from the reports 
made to me by the officers stationed at Kingston, 
to rely with equal confidence on the discipline and 
gallantry of the militia in this district. It is with the 
highest satisfaction I understand, that in the midst 
of unavoidable privations and fatigue, they bear in 
mind that the cause in which they are engaged 
involves their dearest interests and the happiness of 
their families." 

While at Kingston General Brock received a 
letter of congratulation from Sir George Prevost, 
dated August 30th. It was as follows: "I propose 
sending an aide-de-camp to England with your 
short despatch. I shall delay his departure from 
hence until September 1st in hopes of obtaining 
from you before that time, further particulars of 
the operations which led to General Hull's disgrace. 
Well aware of the difficulties you have surmounted 
for the preservation of your government entire, I 
shall endeavour to do justice to your merit in my 


report to His Majesty's minister upon the success 
which has crowned your energy and zeal. I am in 
hourly expectation of receiving from General Dear- 
born intelligence respecting the reception of the 
proposed suspension of hostihties in consequence of 
the revocation of the orders-in-council, which are 
the plea for war in the American cabinet. The 
king's government having most unequivocally ex- 
pressed to me their desire to preserve peace with 
the United States, that they might, uninterruptedly, 
pursue with the whole disposable force of the 
country the great interests committed in Europe, 
I have endeavoured to be instrumental in the ac- 
complishment of their views, but I consider it most 
fortunate to have been enabled to do so without 
interfering with your operations on the Detroit. I 
have sent you men, money, and stores of every 

This was rather an aggravating statement under 
the circumstances, for by reason of the armistice, 
of which the Americans knew how to take full 
advantage, stores of all kinds were at this time 
being sent as rapidly as possible by Lake Ontario 
to the enemy's camp at Niagara, and vessels at 
Ogdensburg were moved in perfect safety to 
Sacketts Harbour, there to be fitted out as ships of 

On the 31st Sir George wrote again: "I had 
scarcely closed the letter addressed to you yesterday 
when an aide-de-camp from Major-General Dear- 



born made his appearance and delivered to me the 
despatch herewith transmitted." The despatch an- 
nounced that the president of the United States 
had not thought proper to authorize a continuance 
of the provisional measure entered into by His 
Excellency and General Dearborn, through the 
Adjutant- General Colonel Baynes ; consequently, 
the armistice was to cease four days from the time 
of the communication reaching Montreal and the 
posts of Kingston and Fort George. This despatch 
had been written while the authorities at Washing- 
ton were in ignorance of what had happened at 
Detroit, for it said : " If a suspension of offensive 
operations shall have been mutually consented to 
between General Hull and the commanding officer 
of the British forces at and near Detroit, as pro- 
posed, they will respectively be authorized at the 
expiration of four days, subsequent to their re- 
ceiving copies of this communication, to consider 
themselves released from any agreement thus en- 
tered into." 

General Brock adds a postcript on September 4th 
to the letter to his brother: "Hostilities, I this 
instant understand, are to be renewed in four days, 
and though landed only two hours I must return 
immediately to Niagara, whence I shall write fully." 
General Brock was of the opinion that an expe- 
dition should be immediately sent to Sacketts 
Harbour, thirty-five miles across the lake from 
Kingston, in order to destroy the arsenal there, 


but Sir George Prevost disapproved. The official 
intelligence of the president's refusal to continue the 
truce reached the commander-in-chief at Montreal 
on August 30th, a day or two before the arrival 
there of Captain Glegg with the trophies and the 
despatches relating to the capture of Detroit. The 
attack on Sacketts Harbour could have been carried 
into effect immediately on the cessation of the 
armistice, but the opportunity was allowed to 
pass. In fact, in his general order of August 31st, 
Sir George Prevost was rather apologetic for 
having dared to invade the territory of the United 

The British government approved of Sir George 
Prevost's pacific policy at the commencement 
of the war, as we gather from a letter of 
Lord Bathurst to the governor-general, written 
on October 1st, 1812, before the refusal of the 
American president to ratify the armistice was 
known in England : "The desire which you have 
unceasingly manifested to avoid hostilities with the 
subjects of the United States, is not more in con- 
formity with your own feelings than with the 
wishes and intentions of His Majesty's government, 
and therefore your correspondence with General 
Dearborn cannot fail to receive their cordial con- 
currence." By the time this letter reached its des- 
tination, had it not been for General Brock's more 
vigorous measures, Sir George Prevost's careful 
avoidance of hostilities, so much approved of by 



the home government, would probably have led to 
the loss of the Canadas. 

As it was, the month's armistice had immensely 
strengthened the position of the enemy on the 
Niagara frontier. General Brock, who had hastened 
back there from Kingston, wrote from Fort George 
on September 7th to the commander-in-chief: — 

"Sir, on my arrival here yesterday morning I 
found that intimation had been received by Major- 
General Sheaffe to renew hostilities at noon to- 
morrow. During the cessation of hostilities vast 
supplies have been received by the enemy. His 
field artillery is numerous, and I have reason to 
believe his heavy ordnance has been considerably 
increased. He is now busy erecting batteries in 
front of Fort George, and everjrthing indicates an 
intention of commencing active operations. Rein- 
forcements of troops of every description have evi- 
dently arrived. 1 have written to Amherstburg for 
such troops as Colonel Procter conceived the state 
of affairs in that quarter enabled him to part with. 
Colonel Vincent has likewise been written to on 
the same subject. The prodigious quantity of pork 
and flour which have been observed landing on the 
opposite shore from a number of vessels and large 
boats which have entered the river during the 
armistice, are sufficient to supply the wants for 
a long period of a considerable force. I expect an 
attack almost immediately. The enemy will either 
turn my left flank, which he may easily accomplish 


during a calm night, or attempt to force his way 
across under cover of his artillery. We stand greatly 
in need of officers, men and heavy ordnance. Captain 
Holcroft has been indefatigable and has done every- 
thing in the power of an individual, but on such an 
extended line assistance is necessary. 

"I look every day for the arrival of five 24- 
pounders from Detroit, and other artillery and 
stores which are not required there, beside two 
thousand muskets. Should your Excellency be in a 
situation to send reinforcements to the upper coun- 
try, the whole of the force at present at Kingston 
might be directed to proceed hither. One thousand 
additional regulars are necessary. A force of that 
description ought to be stationed at Pelliam on the 
Grand River, to act as exigencies might require. 
At present, the whole of my force being necessary 
for the defence of the banks of the river Niagara, 
no part can look for support. If I can continue to 
maintain my position six weeks longer the campaign 
will have terminated in a manner little expected in 
the states. I stand in want of more artillerymen 
and a thousand regulars. I have thus given your 
Excellency a hasty sketch of my situation, and this 
I can aver, that no exertions shall be wanting to do 
justice to the important command with which I am 
entrusted." Two days afterwards he wrote again 
that news had come from Colonel Procter that 
another attack was expected at Amherstburg, as 
reinforcements for the Americans were on their 



way from Kentucky. Although so short himself of 
men. General Brock determined to send to the 
Detroit frontier two flank companies of the New- 
foundland Regiment, which had just joined him at 
Fort George. Fresh troops were still arriving for 
the enemy at Niagara, supposed to belong to the 
Pennsylvania quota. They were reported as in a 
wretched state as to clothing, and ill-fitted to brave 
the rains and cold of the coming season. There was 
much sickness in the American camp. Two or 
three hundred Indians had joined them, but General 
Brock did not believe they would act against him. 
It all depended, however, on which side success 
lay. Any disaster would send them to the winning 

On September 10th Colonel Procter wrote that 
the Queen Charlotte had been sent off from Detroit 
with ordnance and stores for Fort Erie, and also 
the remainder of the prisoners of war, with a guard 
of two subalterns and forty men of the 41st Regi- 
ment, with whom, as Procter says, "I cannot now 
afford to part." The Detroit, formerly the Adams, 
captured at Detroit, was to sail in a few days with 
prisoners and stores. 

The expedition to Fort Wayne had already set 
off before any counter orders arrived. It was a 
troublesome and difficult journey of several hundred 
miles into the enemy's country, but its capture was 
important as being the base of supplies for the left 
division of the American army. It was at this time 


invested by a body of Indians. Captain Muir of the 
41st, with one hundred and fifty men of that regi- 
ment, the same number of militia, some field guns 
and a howitzer, crossed Lake Erie to the Miami 
River, thence to the village of that name, where they 
were joined by three hundred Indian warriors. They 
had proceeded only about half way to the fort when 
they were met by some Indians who informed them 
that two thousand five hundred Ohio and Kentucky 
volunteers under General Winchester were advanc- 
ing to the Miami, and were then only about three 
miles distant. As a proof of this story they pro- 
duced the scalps of five Americans, part of the 
advance guard, whom they had treacherously killed 
while engaged in friendly conversation. Under the 
circumstances it would have been folly to proceed, 
so Captain Muir conducted an orderly retreat, ex- 
pecting at any moment to be attacked by the 
advancing force. He at last reached his boats with- 
out the loss of a man or any of his supplies, and 
returned to Amherstburg after a fruitless absence 
of three weeks. As it turned out afterwards the 
Americans had avoided an engagement, thinking 
the British had a much superior force. 

In the meantime Sir George Prevost was again 
complicating affairs by his vacillating and contra- 
dictory orders. He wrote on September 7th finding 
fault with General Brock's conduct of affairs on 
the Detroit frontier. It drew from the general the 
following reply, dated September 18th: "I have 



been honoured with your Excellency's despatch, 
dated the 7th inst. I have implicitly followed your 
Excellency's instructions, and abstained under the 
greatest temptations and provocations from every 
act of hostility." He enclosed a letter from Colonel 
Procter containing the information of the force 
sent under Captain Muir against Fort Wayne, and 
continued: "I gave orders for it previous to my 
leaving Amherstburg, which must have induced 
Colonel Procter to proceed upon receiving intelli- 
gence of the recommencement of hostilities, without 
waiting for further directions. I regret exceedingly 
that this service should be undertaken contrary to 
your Excellency's wishes, but I beg leave to assure 
you that the principal object in sending a British 
force to Fort Wayne is with the hope of preserving 
the lives of the garrison. By the last accounts the 
place was invested by a numerous body of Indians, 
with very little prospect of being relieved. The 
prisoners of war, who knew perfectly the situation 
of the gaiTison, rejoiced at the measure, and give 
us full credit for our intentions. The Indians were 
likewise looking to us for assistance. They heard of 
the armistice with every mark of jealousy. Had we 
refused joining them in this expedition I cannot 
calculate the consequences. I have already been 
asked to pledge my word that England would 
enter into no negotiation in which their interests 
were not included. Could they be brought to 
imagine that we should desert them, the conse- 


quences must be fatal." General Brock added that 
the attack of the enemy on his frontier could not be 
long delayed, and that he thought the militia could 
not be kept together without such a prospect. 

On the 14th Sir George Prevost wrote again, 
evidently in a panic, and advised General Brock to 
take immediate steps for evacuating Detroit, to- 
gether with the territory of Michigan. This must 
have indeed been galling to the second in command. 
The reason for this advice. Sir George said, was a 
despatch dated July 4th from Lord Bathurst, which 
seems to have been somewhat belated. It said that 
His Majesty's government trusted he would be 
able to suspend with perfect safety all extraordinary 
preparations for defence which he might have been 
induced to make, also that every special requisition 
for warlike stores and accoutrements had been com- 
plied with, except the clothing of the corps proposed 
to be raised from the Glengarry emigrants, and 
that the minister had not thought it necessary to 
direct the preparation of any further supplies. 

Sir George adds : "This will afford you a strong 
proof of the infatuation of His Majesty's ministers 
upon the subject of American affairs, and show how 
entirely I have been left to my own resources in 
the event which has taken place." He informed 
Brock that he could not expect any more reinforce- 

The latter did not agree with Sir George Pre- 
vost's opinion as to the advisability of evacuating 



Detroit and the Michigan territory, the fruits of 
his splendid victory. He wrote from York on Sep- 
tember 28th to the commander-in-chief: " I have 
been honoured with your Excellency's despatches 
dated the 14th inst. I shall suspend, under the 
latitude left by your Excellency to my discretion, 
the evacuation of Fort Detroit. Such a measure 
would most likely be followed by the total ex- 
tinction of the population on that side of the river, 
as the Indians, aware of our weakness and inability 
to carry on active warfare, would only think of 
entering into terms with the enemy. 

*'The Indians, since the Miami affair in 1793, 
have been extremely suspicious of our conduct, but 
the violent wrongs committed by the Americans on 
their territory have rendered it an act of policy 
with them to disguise their sentiments. Could they 
be persuaded that a peace between the belligerents 
would take place without admitting their claim to 
an extensive tract of country fraudulently usurped 
from them, and opposing a frontier to the present 
unbounded views of the Americans, I am satisfied 
in my own mind that they would immediately 
compromise with the enemy. I cannot conceive a 
connection more likely to lead to more awful con- 
sequences. Should negotiations of peace be opened 
I cannot be too earnest with your Excellency to 
represent to the king's ministers the expediency of 
including the Indians as allies, and not to leave them 
exposed to the unrelenting fury of their enemies. 


*'The enemy has evidently assumed defensive 
measures along the strait of Niagara. His force, 
I apprehend, is not equal to attempt the expedition 
across the river with any probability of success. It 
is, however, currently reported that large reinforce- 
ments are on their march. Should they arrive an 
attack cannot be long delayed. The approach of 
the rainy season would increase the sickness with 
which the troops [of the United States] are already 
afflicted. Those under my command are in perfect 
health and spirits." 

It speaks well for the discipline and morale of 
Brock's little army that he is able to say: "It is 
certainly something singular that we should be up- 
wards of two months in a state of warfare, and that 
along this widely extended frontier not a single 
death, either natural or by the sword, should have 
occurred among the troops under my command, 
and we have not been altogether idle; nor has a 
single desertion taken place." 

On September 17th General Brock had written 
to Colonel Procter that he approved of his expedition 
against Fort Wayne, which would probably save 
the garrison from the fate of Chicago. He added, 
however, in obedience to Sir George Prevost's in- 
structions : "It must be expHcitly understood that 
you are not to resort to offensive warfare for pur- 
poses of conquest; your operations are to be con- 
fined to measures of defence and security. It may 
become necessary to destroy tlie fort of Sandusky 



and the road which runs through it from Cleveland 
to the foot of the rapids. The road from the river 
Raisin to Detroit is perhaps in too bad a state to 
offer any aid to the approach of an enemy except 
in the winter. As to the Indians, Colonel Elliott 
does not possess the influence over them that Cap- 
tain McKee does. In conversation with him you 
may take an opportunity of intimating that I have 
not been unmindful of the interests of the Indians 
in my communications to ministers ; and I wish you 
to learn (as if casually the subject of conversation) 
what stipulations they would propose for themselves 
or be willing to accede to in case of either failure 
or success. I wish the engineers to proceed immedi- 
ately to strengthening Fort Amherstburg, the plan 
for which I shall be glad to see as soon as possible." 
On September 18th the general wrote to his 
brother Savery: "You doubtless feel much anxiety 
on my account. I am really placed in a most awk- 
ward predicament. If I get through my present 
difficulties with tolerable success I cannot but ob- 
tain praise. But I have already surmounted diffi- 
culties of infinitely greater magnitude. Were the 
Americans of one mind the opposition I could 
make would be unavailing; but I am not without 
hope that their divisions may be the saving of this 
province. A river of about five hundred yards di- 
vides the troops. My instructions oblige me to 
adopt defensive measures. It is thougiit that with- 
out the aid of the sword the American people may 

49th regiment 

be brought to a due sense of their own interests. I 
firmly believe I could at this moment sweep every- 
thing before me between Fort Niagara and Buffalo, 
but my success would be transient." No doubt the 
general thought of that other victory, which by the 
supineness of the commander-in-chief had been 
taken so little advantage of. 

The letter continues: "I have now officers in 
whom I can confide. Six companies of the 49th are 
with me here, and the remaining four are at King- 
ston under Vincent. Although the regiment has 
been ten years in this country, drinking rum with- 
out bounds, it is still respectable and apparently 
ardent for an opportunity to acquire distinction. It 
has five captains in England and two on the staff 
in this country, which leaves it bare of experienced 
officers. The United States regiments of the line 
desert to us frequently, as the men are tired of the 
service. Their mihtia, being chiefly composed of 
enraged Democrats, are more ardent and anxious 
to engage, but they have neither subordination or 
discipline. They die very fast. You will hear of 
some decided action in the course of a fortnight, or 
in all probability we shall return to a state of tran- 
quillity. I say decisive, because if I should be beaten 
the province is inevitably gone; and should I be 
victorious, I do not imagine the gentry from the 
other side will care to return to the charge. I am quite 
anxious that this state of warfare should end, as I wdsh 
much to join Lord Wellington and to see you all." 




THE month of September had seen the arrival 
at Montreal of the wretched prisoners from 
Detroit. Colonel Baynes wrote that they had reach- 
ed there in a very miserable state, having trav- 
elled without halt. They had been sent to Fort 
William Henry on their way to Quebec. The officers 
were to be on parole and the men confined in the 
transports on the river. General Hull had been 
allowed to return home on parole, and also most of 
the officers who had famiUes with them. "General 
Hull," Colonel Baynes said, "seemed to possess less 
feeling and sense of shame than any man in his 
situation could be supposed to have. The grounds 
on which he rests his defence are not well founded, 
as he said he had not gunpowder enough for one 
day. Sir George showed him the return of the large 
supply found in the fort. It did not create a blush!" 
The unfortunate and incapable general was tried 
by court-martial on his return on parole to the 
United States. He was found guilty and sentenced 
to death. His defence was that he had not pro- 
visions enough to maintain the siege, that he ex- 
pected the enemy would be reinforced, and that he 
knew the savage ferocity of the Indians. His sen- 
tence of death was remitted on account of his past 



services, but his name was struck off the roll of the 
army, and he passed the remainder of his life in 
disgrace and obscurity. 

Colonel Baynes reported in September that about 
half of the 8th, or King's Regiment, three hundred 
men, were at Coteau du Lac and the Isle aux Noix. 
These two places were the keys of Lower Canada, 
the former commanding the navigation of the St. 
Lawrence at its entrance into Lake Francis, the 
latter, in the Richelieu River, being the barrier of 
Lower Canada from the Champlain frontier. In the 
conflict of the eighteenth century these places had 
been much thought of by French engineers. They 
were, after the conquest, fortified by General Haldi- 
mand. Colonel Baynes was confident, he wrote, that 
the British could bring as many men into the field 
as the Americans, and of superior stuff, as the mihtia 
had improved so much in disciphne, and therefore 
in spirit and confidence. Montreal, he thought, 
could turn out two thousand volunteer mihtia very 
tolerably drilled. 

A naval success on the Atlantic on August 19th, 
when H.M.S. Chieriiere was taken by the Consti- 
tution, had gone far to console the Americans for 
their discomfiture at Detroit, and they were hope- 
fully preparing for another invasion, in this instance 
on the Niagara frontier, where Major-General Van 
Rensselaer^ had assembled an army of over six 

1 General Van Rensselaer, ''padron " of New York, was not a pro- 
fessional soldier, but relied in military matters on the advice of his 
cousin and adjutant. Colonel Van Rensselaer. 



thousand men, with headquarters at the village of 
Lewiston, opposite Queenston. 

At Plattsburg there were about five thousand 
troops, half of them regulars under the immediate 
command of Major-General Dearborn, who wrote 
on September 26th to General Van Rensselaer: 
"At all events we must calculate on possessing 
Upper Canada before the winter sets in." Ex-Presi- 
dent Jefferson wrote: " I fear that Hull's surrender 
has been more than the mere loss of a year to us. 
Perhaps, however, the patriotic efforts from Ken- 
tucky and Ohio by recalling the British force to its 
upper posts, may yet give time to Dearborn to 
strike a blow below. Effective possession of the 
river from Montreal to Chaudiere, which is practi- 
cable, would give us the upper country at our 

So spoke the generals and politicians. In the 
meantime, courteous messages were passing from 
Major-General Van Rensselaer to Major-General 
Brock as to the disposition of the prisoners of war, 
and of the women and children who had accom- 
panied them from Detroit. General Brock writes to 
the American general : " With much regret I have 
perceived very heavy firing from both sides of the 
river. I am, however, given to understand that on 
all occasions it commenced on your side, and from 
the cu-cumstance of the flag of truce which I did 
myself the honour to send over yesterday, having 
been repeatedly fired on while in the act of crossing 



the river, I am inclined to give full credit to the 
correctness of the information. You may rest as- 
sured on my repeating my most positive orders 
against the continuance of a practice which can 
only be injurious to individuals, without promoting 
the object which both our nations may have in 

Another letter from John Lovett, — secretary to 
General Van Rensselaer — to Joseph Alexander, 
gives an idea of the state of affairs from the Ameri- 
can point of view, and indirectly bears testimony to 
the unceasing labour and watchfulness of the British 
general : — 

Headqua7'te7's, Lewiston, September 22nd, 1812. 
"The enemy appears to be in a state of preparedness 
to give or receive an attack. Every day or two they 
make some movement which indicates a disposition 
to attack us immediately. The night before last 
every ship they have on Lake Ontario came into the 
mouth of Niagara. Then, to be sure, we thought it 
time to look out for breakers. But yesterday, when 
Colonel Van Rensselaer went over with a flag to 
Fort George, there was not a ship in sight nor a 
general officer there; where gone we know not. 
Notwithstanding the most positive orders on both 
sides, our sentries have kept up almost a constant 
warfare for a month past. On the bank of the river 
musket balls are about as thick as whip-poor-wills 
on a summer evening. We are promised reinforce- 
ments by companies, battalions, regiments, brigades, 


and I might almost say armies, but not a single 
man has joined us in some weeks. Besides our men 
here are getting down very fast. The morning's 
report of sick was one hundred and forty-nine. 
Give Mrs. Lovett the inclosed. It contains an im- 
pression of General Brock's seal, with his most ap- 
propriate motto, ' He who guards never sleeps.'" 

Although this did not happen to be the general's 
motto, it very weU expressed his attitude. That 
forty miles of frontier to defend with his limited 
force, was a problem ever present to him. The 
American army on the Niagara frontier consisted 
of five thousand two hundred men of the New 
York militia, three hundred field and light artillery, 
eight hundred of the 6th, 13th and 23rd Regiments 
of Foot (regulars), in all six thousand three hundred 
men, stationed between Niagara and Lewiston, 
under the command of Major-General Van Rens- 
selaer. At Black Rock and Buffalo, twenty-eight 
miles distant, were one thousand six hundred and 
forty regulars three hundred and eighty-six militia 
and two hundred and fifty sailors under the command 
of Brigadier-General Smyth. Four hundred Seneca 
Indians had also joined the United States forces. 

Major-General Brock had under his immediate 
command part of the 41st and 49th Regiments, 
a few companies of militia and three hundred 
Indians, a force in all of about fifteen hundred men, 
dispersed between Fort Erie, opposite Black Rock, 
and Fort George, thirty-six miles distant. Only a 



small number could be available at any one point. 
With unwearied diligence the British commander 
watched the motions of the enemy, but under the 
circumstances he knew that it was impossible to 
prevent the landing of the hostile troops, especially 
if their operations were can-ied out at night. There 
was one point in his favour, the want of accord 
between the American generals. Smyth thought 
the crossing should be made above the Falls, Van 
Rensselaer favoured the attack on the river below. 

A letter to Brock from Sir George Prevost of 
September 25th, showed that he still held the idea of 
simply being on the defensive, and had a slavish fear 
of doing anything that might draw on himself blame 
from the English ministry. He wrote: " It no longer 
appears by your letter of the 13th that you consider 
the enemy's operations on the Niagara frontier 
indicative of active operations. If the government 
of America inclines to defensive measures, I can 
only ascribe its determination to two causes, the 
first is the expectation of such overtures from us as 
will lead to a suspension of hostilities preparatory 
to negotiations for peace ; the other arises from 
having ascertained by experience our ability in the 
Canadas to resist the attack of a tumultuary force. 
I agree in opinion with you that so wretched is the 
organization and discipline of the American army, 
that at this moment much might be effected against 
them ; but as the government at home could derive 
no substantial advantage from any disgrace we 


might inflict on them, whilst the more important 
concerns of the country are committed in Europe, 
I again request you will steadily pursue that policy 
which shall appear to you best calculated to promote 
the dwindling away of such a force by its own in- 
efficient means." 

These were certainly rather enigmatical words 
from the commander-in-chief, and calculated rather 
to dampen than to inspire the ardour of the defenders 
of the country. The evil effect of the policy of 
inaction was soon apparent. 

On October 9th the brig Detroit (late United 
States brig Adams), and the North- West Com- 
pany's brig Caledonia (one hundred tons), having 
arrived at Fort Erie the preceding day from De- 
troit, were boarded and carried off at dawn by 
Lieutenant EUiott of the American navy with a 
hundred seamen and soldiers in two large boats. 
This officer was stationed at the time at Black Rock, 
superintending the equipment of some schooners 
purchased for service on Lake Erie. Had it not 
been for the defensive measures forced on General 
Brock by the commander-in-chief, these schooners 
would probably have been destroyed. The two 
British vessels contained forty prisoners, some 
cannon and small arms captured at Detroit, and 
also a valuable lot of furs in the Caledonia belong- 
ing to the South-West Company. The Americans 
who attacked the two brigs ftir out-numbered 
the crews and militia on board, who amounted 



in all to sixty-eight men. After the capture Lieu- 
tenant Elliott ran the Caledonia close under the 
batteries at Black Rock, but on account of the heavy 
fire from Fort Erie he was compelled to abandon 
the JDetroit at Squaw Island. Here she was boarded 
by a subaltern detachment from Fort Erie, which 
had come to the rescue. Unfortunately their efforts 
were unavailing, and the Americans set her on 

General Brock's letter relating to the disaster is 
dated Fort George, October 11th, 1812: "I had 
scarcely closed my despatch to your Excellency, of 
the 9th, when I was suddenly called away to Fort 
Erie, in consequence of a bold, and I regret to say, 
successful attack by the enemy on His Majesty's 
ship Detroit and the private brig Caledonia^ which 
had both arrived the preceding day from Amherst- 
burg. It appears by every account I have been able 
to collect, that a little before day a number of 
boats, fuU of men, dropped down with the current 
unobserved, boarded both vessels at the same mo- 
ment, and cutting their cables were proceeding with 
them to the American shore, when Major Ormsby 
who witnessed the transaction, directed the bat- 
teries to open upon them, and soon compelled the 
enemy to abandon the Detroit, which grounded 
about the centre of Squaw Island, a little more 
than a mile below Black Rock. She was then 
boarded by a party of the 49th Regiment, but as 
no anchor remained, and being otherwise unpro- 


vided with every means by which she could be 
hauled off, the officers, throwing her guns over- 
board, after sustaining a smart fire of musketry, 
decided to quit her. A private, who is accused of 
getting drunk, and a prisoner of war, who was 
unable from his wounds to escape, with about 
twenty prisoners brought by the Deti^oit from Am- 
herstburg, remained, however, behind; these it be- 
came necessary to remove before the vessel could 
be destroyed, and Cornet Pell, major of the Pro- 
vincial Cavalry, offered his services. Being unfortu- 
nately wounded as he was getting on board, and 
falling back into the boat, a confusion arose, during 
which the boat drifted from the vessel, leaving on 
board two of the 41st who had previously ascended. 
In the meantime the Caledonia was secured by the 
enemy, and a cargo of furs belonging to the South- 
West Company landed. I reached the spot soon 
after sunset, and intended to have renewed the 
attempt to recover the Detroit, which I had every 
prospect of accompHshing, assisted by the crew of 
the Lady Prevost, which vessel had anchored a 
short time before, but before the necessary arrange- 
ments could be made, the enemy boarded her, and 
in a few minutes she was seen in flames. This event 
is particularly unfortunate, and may reduce us to 
incalculable distress. 

"The enemy is making every exertion to gain 
a naval superiority on both lakes, which if they 
accomplish I do not see how we can retain the 



country. More vessels are fitting out for war on the 
other side of Squaw Ishmd, which I should have 
attempted to destroy but for your Excellency's 
repeated instructions to forbear. Now such a force 
is collected for their protection as will render every 
operation against them very hazardous. The manner 
our guns were served yesterday points out the 
necessity of an increase, if possible, of artillerymen 
to our present small number of regulars. The militia 
evinced a good spirit, but fired without much effect. 
The enemy, however, must have lost some men, 
and it is only wonderful that in a contest of a whole 
day, no life was lost on our side. The fire of the 
enemy was incessant, but badly directed till the 
close of the day, when it began to improve. 

" Lieutenant Rolette, who commanded the De- 
troit, had, and I believe deservedly, the character of 
a brave, attentive officer. His vessel must, however, 
have been surprised — an easy operation when she 
lay at anchor, and I have reason to suspect that 
this consideration was not sufficiently attended to 
by the officers commanding on board and on shore. 
We have not only sustamed a heavy loss in the 
vessel, but Ukewise in the cargo, which consisted of 
four 12-pounders, a large quantity of shot and 
about two hundred muskets, all of which were 
intended for Kingston and Prescott. The only con- 
solation is that she escaped the enemy, whose con- 
duct did not entitle him to so rich a prize. 

" The enemy has brought some boats overland 


from Schlosser to the Niagara River, and made an 
attempt last night to carry off the guard over the 
store at Queenston. I shall refrain as long as pos- 
sible under your Excellency's positive injunctions, 
from every hostile act, although sensible that each 
day's delay gives him an advantage." 

On the same day General Brock wrote to Colonel 
Procter, who was still in command on the Detroit 
frontier. After various instructions the letter con- 
cludes as follows : " An active, interesting scene is 
going to commence with you. I am perfectly at 
ease as to the result, provided we can manage the 
Indians and keep them attached to your cause, 
which, in fact, is theirs. The fate of the province is 
in your hands. Judging by every appearance we are 
not to remain long idle in this quarter. Were it not 
for the positive injunctions of the commander of 
the forces I should have acted with greater decision. 
This forbearance may be productive of ultimate 
good but I doubt its policy — perhaps we have not 
the means of judging correctly. You will, of course, 
adopt a very different hne of conduct. The enemy 
must be kept in a state of constant ferment. No- 
thing new at Montreal. Lord Wellington has totally 
defeated Marmont, near Salamanca." 




IT was on October 6th, 1812, General Brock's 
forty-third birthday, when the despatches an- 
nouncing the victory of Detroit and the colours 
taken there, arrived in London. It was a time when 
England waited breathless for news of her arms 
abroad. She was in the midst of her life and death 
struggle with her arch-foe in Europe, and blood 
and treasure were being poured on the fields of 
Spain. No wonder, then, that news of a victory 
even in distant Canada was hailed with acclaim, 
and bells were set ringing and guns were fired 
to let the people know the good news. 

Early in the day the wife of William Brock 
asked her husband why the park and tower guns 
were saluting. "For Isaac, of course," was his reply. 
"Do you not know that this is his birthday?" 
Later he learnt that what he had said in jest was 
true. It was indeed for Isaac Brock that bells were 
ringing and guns saluting. 

Sir George Prevost's despatch to Lord Bathurst 
told of the great abihty and judgment with which 
General Brock had planned, and the promptitude, 
energy, and fortitude with which he had effected 
the preservation of Upper Canada with the sacrifice 



of so little British blood. The answer was prompt. 
Lord Bathurst wrote: "I am commanded by His 
Royal Highness to desire you to take the earUest 
opportunity of conveying His Royal Highness' 
approbation of the able, judicious and decisive con- 
duct of Major-General Brock, of the zeal and spirit 
manifested by Colonel Procter and the other officers, 
as well as of the intrepidity of the troops. You will 
inform Major-General Brock that His Royal High- 
ness, taking into consideration all the difficulties by 
which he was surrounded from the time of the 
invasion of the province by the American army under 
the command of General Hull, and the singular 
judgment, firmness, skill and courage with which he 
was enabled to surmount them so effectually has 
been pleased to appoint him an extra knight of 
the most honourable Order of the Bath." 

On October 10th the honours were gazetted. It 
was on October 13th, a date not to be forgotten, 
that Irving Brock received the short note, written 
at Detroit: "Rejoice at my good fortune and join 
me in prayers to heaven. Let me hear you are 
united and happy." William Brock wi'ites on that 
day to his brother Savery in Guernsey: "Since I 
sent you on Tuesday last the Gazette containing 
the despatches, I have been so engrossed with the 
one all-exciting subject as to be unable to attend to 
your business. As I well know that Isaac would 
not consider his good fortune complete unless a 
reconciliation took place between Irving and my- 


self, I went up to-day on seeing him and shook 
hands. He then showed me two Hnes which he had 
just received from Isaac. It is satisfactory to me 
that we shook hands before I was aware of the 
contents. I have again seen Captain Coore, who 
told me that the Prince Regent had spoken to him 
about Isaac for nearly half an hour. His Royal 
Highness was pleased to say that General Brock 
had done more in one hour than could have been 
done in six months' negotiation with Mr. Russell, 
that he had by his exploit given a lustre to the 
British army, etc. The very prompt manner in 
which the red riband has been conferred, confirms 
the flattering remarks of the prince, and proves the 
favourable impression of the ministry. I look for- 
ward to Isaac receiving the thanks of parliament 
when it meets again. Captam Coore thinks he will 
now take Niagara. May Sir Isaac long live to be an 
example to your Julian and an honour to us all." 

While the brothers were rejoicing in his good 
fortune, the general was passing anxious days and 
nights. It was apparent that an attack on the fron- 
tier was coming, but at what point on the line it 
was impossible to determine. An American spy had 
visited the British camp and reported that General 
Brock had left for Detroit with all the forces he 
could spare from Niagara. Possibly this report en- 
couraged the American general to hasten his move- 

The night of October 12th was cold and stormy. 



General Brock sat late at his desk writing des- 
patches and instructions for the officers commanding 
at different points of the river. His last letter to Sir 
George Prevost was written then. It reads : " The 
vast number of troops which have been this day 
added to the strong force previously collected on 
the opposite side, convinces me, with other indi- 
cations, that an attack is not far distant. I have, in 
consequence, directed every exertion to be made to 
complete the militia to two thousand men, but 
I fear that I shall not be able to effect my object 
with willing, well-disposed characters." 

It was past midnight when the general sought 
repose. Was the beatific vision again vouchsafed 
him of his brothers once more united and happy ? 
Before the dawn, about four a.m., the sound of dis- 
tant firing roused him from his short slumber. The 
hour so long expected had come at last. In a few 
moments the general was in his saddle, and not 
waiting even for his aide-de-camp to accompany 
him, he galloped off by the road to Queenston, 
seven miles away, whence the ominous sound came. 

It was not the general only who had waited with 
impatience for the decisive moment. One of the 
young volunteers on guard. Lieutenant Robinson, 
in his account of that fateful day, writes : " The 
lines had been watched with all the care and at- 
tention which the extent of our force rendered 
possible, and such was the fatigue which our men 
underwent from want of rest, and exposure to the 


inclement weather, that they welcomed with joy 
the prospect of a field which they thought would 
be decisive."^ 

All along the river bank from Fort George to 
Queenston, a mile or two apart, Canadian batteries 
commanded different points where a crossing might 
be made. The principal were at Brown's Point, two 
miles from Queenston, and Vrooman's Point, nearer 
that village. At the former was stationed a company 
of York volunteers, under the command of Captain 
Cameron. The latter, which commanded Lewiston 
and the landing at Queenston, was guarded by 
another company of York volunteers under the 
command of Captain Reward. 

Above the village of Queenston the channel of 
the river narrows, and the banks rise to the height 
of three hundred feet, thickly covered with trees 
and shrubs. At the ferry between Lewiston and 
Queenston the river is one thousand two hundred 
and fifty feet in breadth, with a depth of from two 
to three hundred feet and a very rapid current. 
Half way down the hill, or the mountain, as it was 
called, was the redan battery, where the flank 
fight company of the 49th Regiment, under Captain 

1 This letter appears in full in the present writer's "Ten Years of 
Upper Canada." When that book was published the name of the writer 
of the letter was not known, as the manuscript containing it found in 
the archives at Ottawa was not signed. Happily, from a draft of the 
letter which was among the Robinson family papers, it was discovered 
that the writer of this admirable account of the battle of Queenston 
Heights was Lieutenant Robinson, afterwards the distinguished Sir John 
Beverley Robinson, chief justice of Upper Canada. 



Williams was stationed. The other flank company 
of the 49th, the grenadiers, numbering only forty- 
six men, under Major Dennis, was at the village of 
Queenston, where also was stationed Captain Chis- 
holm's company from York, and Captain Hall's 
company of 5th IJncoln militia. There was a small 
detachment of artillery in the village, with two 
3-pounders, under the command of I^ieutenant 
Crowther and Captain Ball. On the height opposite 
Queenston, on the American side, was Fort Grey, 
whose guns commanded that village. From this 
point the firing first came. 

It was about half an hour before daylight, prob- 
ably about four a.m., inthe midst of a violent storm 
of wind and rain, that, under cover of darkness, the 
Americans began crossing the river. They were seen 
by the miUtia sentinel on guard at Queenston, who 
immediately ran to the guardhouse to give the 
alarm. As soon as possible, the grenadier company 
of the 49th and the militia company stationed 
there, began firing on them, using also the two 
3-pounders with good effect. Colonel Van Rens- 
selaer, a relative of the general, who had charge 
of the troops crossing, was at this time severely 
wounded, as well as many of the rank and file, 
before the boats had gone far from their side of the 
river. The gun at Vrooman's Point, which com- 
manded the landing at Lewiston, also joined in, 
and many of the boats were driven back, whilst 
others in a battered condition drifted down the 


river and ran ashore near Vrooman's Point. Those 
on board, many of them wounded, were made 

The detachment of York Vokmteers at Brown's 
Point, two miles below, had heard the firing, and 
made ready to join their comrades in helping to 
drive the invaders back. Dawn was now glimmering 
in the east, but the semi-darkness was illumined by 
the discharge of musketry and the flash of artillery. 
In spite of the constant fire, some boats succeeded 
in effecting a landing. 

Captain Cameron, in command of the York 
company at Brown's Point, was at first undecided 
whether to advance or to remain at the post as- 
signed him to defend. It had been thought that the 
enemy would make various attacks at different 
points on the line, and this might be a feint, while 
the real landing would take place elsewhere. How- 
ever, he decided to go to the aid of the troops above, 
and had scarcely set off on his march in that direc- 
tion when General Brock galloped past alone. He 
waved his hand as he flew by, bidding the little 
troop press on.^ Little need to tell them to follow. 
Their confidence in their general was unbounded. 
They were ready to follow him through danger and 
death. In a few minutes the general reached and 
passed Vrooman's Point, and was soon followed by 

1 This command, the author thinks, is the origin of the report that 
Brock's dying words were, " Push on, brave York Volunteers." It is 
more probable that this was the occasion on wliich he used them. 



his two aides, Major Glegg and Lieutenant-Colonel 

The reception given to the invaders had been 
a warm one. To quote from Lieutenant Robinson: 
" Grape and musket shot poured upon them at close 
quarters as they approached the shore. A single 
discharge of grape from a brass 6 -pounder, directed 
by Captain Dennis of the 49th, destroyed fifteen in 
a boat. Three of the hatcauoc landed below Mr. 
Hamilton's garden in Queenston and were met by 
a party of militia and a few regulars, who slaughtered 
almost the whole of them, taking the rest prisoners. 
Several other boats were so shattered and disabled 
that the men in them threw down their arms and 
came on shore, merely to deliver themselves up as 
prisoners of war. As we advanced with our com- 
pany, we met troops of Americans on their way to 
Fort George under guard, and the road was lined 
with miserable wretches suffering under wounds of 
all descriptions, and crawling to our houses for 
protection and comfort. The spectacle struck us, 
who were unused to such scenes, with horror, but 
we hurried to the mountain, impressed with the 
idea that the enemy's attempt was already frus- 
trated, and the business of the day nearly com- 

Thus far, everything had gone well for the defense, 

and the general, on his approach to Queenston, 

was greeted with the news that the greater number 

of the boats had been destroyed or taken. Another 



brigade of four boats was just then setting off from 
Lewiston, and the 49th Light Company, which had 
been stationed at the redan battery on the moun- 
tain, was ordered down to assist in preventing 
them landing. General Brock had ridden forward to 
inspect this battery, where the 18-pounder had been 
left in charge of eight artillerymen. He had just 
dismounted to enter the enclosure when shots from 
above warned him that the enemy had gained the 
crest of the hill. As was learned afterwards. Captain 
Wool, of the United States army, on whom de- 
volved the command of the boats when Colonel 
Van Rensselaer was wounded, had very skilfully 
conducted his men up the river, and on shore, until 
they came to a fisherman's path leading up the 
south side of the mountain, a path so steep and 
narrow that it had been left unguarded. They had 
succeeded in reaching the height unobserved, where 
they remained concealed by the crags and trees. It 
was now about seven in the morning. 

In the dangerous and exposed position in which 
General Brock found himself, there was nothing to 
be done but to order the gun to be spiked and 
to evacuate the battery with all the speed possible. 
There was no time for him even to mount his horse. 
He led it down the hill and entered the village to 
reform his troops and gather them for an assault on 
the enemy above. There were but two hundred 
men available for the work, two companies of the 
49th, about a hundred men, and the same number 



of militia. It was a hazardous and daring enterprise 
to attempt to regain the heights with so small a 
force, but regardless of danger, as was his wont, 
General Brock, on foot, led his men to the charge 
up the hill. In vain was the attempt. The enemy 
above were so advantageously placed, and kept up 
such a tremendous fire, that the small number 
ascending were driven back. Again the general 
rallied them, and proceeded by the right of the 
mountain, meaning to attack them in flank. His 
tall form and prominent position as leader made 
him too easy a mark. Scarcely had he ascended 
a few paces when the fatal bullet struck him in the 
breast, and he fell, " too prodigal of that life so 
needed by all." 

Of the last words of a hero there are always con- 
flicting stories. Some say Isaac Brock called on his 
men to press forward, some say he murmured his 
sister's name ; but who can doubt but that his faith- 
ful heart, in that supreme moment, was back with 
his loved ones, and it was not the heights of 
Queenston he was climbing but the steep cliffs of 
Guernsey, and it was not the roar of the cannon or 
the rush of the river that filled his dying ear, but 
the sound of the waves as they surged in the 
caverns of his island home. 

They bore him from the place where he fell to a 

house at the foot of the hill, where his comrades 

covered his lifeless form, and then went back to the 

work he had left them to do. The handful of troops 



had retreated to the village, where they were joined 
by the two companies of York Volunteers from 
Brown's and Vrooman's Points. About half-past 
nine Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell, aide-de-camp, 
formed them again for an advance up the hill to 
dislodge the enemy. 

Lieutenant Robinson tells the story : " We were 
halted a few moments in Mr. Hamilton's garden, 
where we were exposed to the shot from the 
American battery at Fort Grey, and from several 
field pieces directly opposite to us, besides an in- 
cessant and disorderly fire of musketry from the 
sides of the mountain. In a few minutes we were 
ordered to advance. The nature of the ground and 
the galling fire prevented any kind of order in 
ascending. We soon scrambled to the top to the 
right of the battery which they had gained, and 
were in some measure covered by the woods. There 
we stood and gathered the men as they advanced, 
and formed them into line. The fire was too hot to 
admit of delay. Scarcely more than fifty had col- 
lected, about thirty of whom were of our company, 
headed by Captain Cameron, and the remainder of 
the 49th Light Company, commanded by Captain 

" Lieutenant- Colonel Macdonell M^as mounted 
and animating the men to charge. . . . The enemy 
were just in front, covered by bushes and logs. 
They were in no kind of order, and were three or 
four hundred in number. They perceived us form- 



ing, and at about thirty yards distance, fired. Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Macdonell, who was on the left of 
our party calling upon us to advance, received 
a shot in his body and fell. His horse was at the 
same instant killed. Captain Williams, who was at 
the other extremity of our little band, fell the next 
moment apparently dead. The remainder of our 
men advanced a few paces, discharged their pieces, 
and then retired down the mountain. Lieutenant 
McLean was wounded in the thigh. Captain Cam- 
eron, in his attempt to save Colonel Macdonell, was 
exposed to a shower of musketry, but most miracu- 
lously escaped. He succeeded in carrying off his 
friend. Captain Williams recovered from the mo- 
mentary effect of the wound in his head in time to 
escape down the mountain. This happened, I think, 
about ten a.m." 

The two companies of the 49th and the militia, 
retreated to Vrooman's Point to wait there for 
further reinforcements, and the Americans remained 
in possession of the hill. They were enabled by the 
cessation of fire from the Canadian side to land 
fresh troops unmolested, and to carry back their 
dead and wounded in their boats. 

The morning had ended most disastrously for the 
British. The beloved and trusted general was still 
in death, and near him lay his friend and aide-de- 
camp, mortally wounded. All along the line from 
Fort George to Erie, the evil tidings sped. How 
the news of defeat was brought to Fort Erie is told 


by an officer^ of the 100th stationed there. He 
relates how on the morning of October 13th the 
booming of distant artillery was faintly heard. 
Hunger and fatigue were no longer remembered, 
and the men were ordered to turn out under arms, 
and were soon on their way to the batteries opposite 
the enemy's station at Black Rock. The letter 
continues : — 

" We had not assumed our position long, when 
an orderly officer of the Provincial Dragoons rode 
up and gave the information that the enemy were 
attempting to cross at Queenston, and that we 
must annoy them by every means in our power 
along the whole line, as was being done from 
Niagara to Queenston. The command was no sooner 
given than, bang, went off every gun we had in 
position. The enemy's guns were manned and re- 
turned the fire, and the day's work was begun. 
It was about two o'clock in the afternoon when 
another dragoon, not wearing sword or helmet, 
bespattered horse and man with foam and mud, 
rode up. Said an old ' green tiger '^ to me, * Horse 
and man jaded, sir, depend upon it he brings bad 
news ' * Step down and see what news he brings.' 
Away my veteran doubles and soon returns. I 
knew from poor old Clibborn's face something 
dreadful had occurred. ' What news, Clibborn — 
what news, man ? ' I said, as he advanced toward 

^ Captain Driscoll. 

^ The 49th Regiment was known by that sobriquet. 



the battery that was still keeping up a brisk 

" Clibborn walked on, perfectly unconscious of 
the balls that were ploughing up the ground around 
him. He uttered not a word, but shook his head. 
The pallor and expression of his countenance indi- 
cated the sorrow of his soul. I could stand it no 
longer. I placed my hand on his shoulder. *For 
heaven's sake, tell us what you know.' In choking 
accents he revealed his melancholy information. 
* General Brock is killed, the enemy has possession 
of Queenston Heights.' Every man in the battery 
was paralyzed. They ceased firing. A cheer from the 
enemy on the opposite side of the river recalled 
us to our duty. They had heard of their success 
down the river. 

"Our men who had in various ways evinced their 
feelings, some weeping, some swearing, some in 
mournful silence, now exhibited demoniac energy. 
The heavy guns were loaded, traversed and fired as 
if they were field pieces. ' Take your time, men, 
don't throw away your fire, my lads.' ' No, sir, but 
we will give it to them hot and heavy.' All the guns 
were worked by the forty men of my company as 
if they wished to avenge the death of their beloved 
chief." ' 

At Niagara, the other extremity of the line, in 
obedience to General Brock's last order, sent from 
Queenston, a brisk fire had been kept up all morn- 

1 " Laura Secord," by Mrs. Curzou. 



ing with the American fort opposite, whence hot 
shot poured on the little town, threatening to en- 
velop it in flames. Captain Vigareaux, R.E., by a 
daring act of valour, saved a powder magazine from 
being ignited. As at Fort Erie, news of the disaster 
at Queenston only impelled the artillerymen to 
redouble their exertions. So well directed was 
their fire that by mid-day the American fort was 

Major-General SheafFe had, early in the morning, 
in obedience to a summons from General Brock, 
prepared to march to Queenston with about four 
companies of the 41st, three hundred and eighty 
rank and file, and nearly the same number of 
militia, together with the car brigade under Captain 
Holcroft. News of the repulse and the loss of the 
general was followed by a second despatch, telling 
of Lieutenant- Colonel Macdonell's attempt to take 
the hill, which had ended so disastrously. 

General SheafFe, with the field pieces of the car 
brigade, arrived at Vrooman's Point about eleven 
o'clock, and found there the handful of troops who 
had retreated to that place to await his arrival. 
Captain Holcroft's company, with the heavy guns, 
was placed in position to command the landing at 
Lewiston, and to prevent any more troops from 
crossmg. The general decided that it was useless to 
attempt a charge up the hill in the face of the 
addition that had been made to the enemy's force, 
and their commanding position on the heights. 



He determined, therefore, to make a long detour 
through the fields and woods behind Queenston. 
His force had been strengthened by about one 
hundred and fifty Mohawk Indians, imder Chief 
Norton, who had come from the lake shore near 
Niagara, had skirted the village of St. Davids near 
Queenston, and then had silently moved eastwards 
through the dense forest, hemming the Americans 
in. About two p.m. Major Merritt's troop of cavalry 
appeared on the scene, and later still, a detachment 
of the 41st and two flank companies of militia 
arrived from Chippawa. 

It was three o'clock in the afternoon when the 
real battle of Queenston Heights began. General 
SheafFe had gradually advanced towards the battery 
on the mountain held by the enemy. One spirit 
animated all the men, a fierce desire to avenge 
the death of their beloved chief, and to drive the 
aggressors back from Canadian soil. The main body 
on the right consisted of the 41st, and the flank 
companies of the Niagara militia, with two field 
pieces, 8-pounders, which had been dragged up the 
hill. The left consisted of the Mohawk Indians and 
a company of coloured troops, refugee slaves from 
the United States. The Light Company of the 49th, 
with the companies of York and Lincoln militia, 
formed the centre. In all a little over a thousand 
men, of whom half were regulars. 

The Indians were the first to advance, and the 
Americans, who were expecting an attack from 


quite another direction, were completely taken by 
surprise. General Sheaffe had succeeded in reaching 
their rear unseen. There was scarcely time for them 
to change their front when a fierce onslaught was 
made on them from all sides, the Indians uttering 
their terrific war whoop, and the rest of the troops 
joining in the shout. 

In vain did the American officers, among them 
Winfield Scott, attempt to rally their men. A panic 
seized them in the face of the determined fire that 
was poured upon them, and, scarcely waiting to fire 
a volley, they fled by hundreds down the mountain, 
only to meet more of their enemies below. There 
was no retreat possible for them. It was indeed 
a furious and avenging force that pressed upon 
them, and drove them to the brink of that river 
whose deep waters seemed to offer a more merciful 
death than that which awaited them above. They 
feU in numbers. ** The river," says one who was 
present,^ "presented a shocking spectacle, filled with 
poor wretches who plunged into the stream with 
scarcely a prospect of being saved." Many leaped 
from the side of the mountain, and were dashed 
to pieces on the rocks below. 

At last the fire from the American batteries at 
Lewiston ceased, and the battle was over in one 
short hour. Brock was indeed avenged. Two offi- 
cers were now seen approaching bearing a white 
flag. They were conducted up the mountain to 

' Lieutenant J. B. Robinson. 



General Sheaffe, and with difficulty the slaughter 
was stopped. By the surrender, General Wadsworth 
and over nine hundred men, including sixty officers, 
were made prisoners of war. It was a complete 
victory, but dimmed by a national loss. That loss 
was felt through the two years of fighting that 
followed the battle of Queenston Heights. SheafFe, 
who succeeded the fallen general, was lacking in 
the qualities that are requisite for a successful 
commander. His conduct at the taking of York in 
1813, proved his unfitness for the position. Procter 
who had been left in command on the western 
frontier also lacked the firmness in action and fer- 
tility of resource that characterized the leader who 
had opened the campaign so brilhantly. But the 
influence which the lost leader wielded on the 
youth of the province lived after him, and stimu- 
lated them throughout the long struggle "to keep 
the land inviolate." Under Vincent and Harvey 
and Drummond and Macdonell and de Sala- 
berry they fought as veterans, and when at the 
close of the war they laid down their arms not one 
foot of Canadian territory was occupied by the 

Three times were Sir Isaac Brock's funeral rites 
observed. First, on that sad October day when 
a pause came in the conflict, and minute guns from 
each side of the river bore their token of respect 
from friend and foe for the general who had fallen 
in the midst of the battle. He was laid to rest first 


in the cavalier bastion of Fort George which he 
himself had built. Dark days were yet to fall on 
Canada, when shot and shell poured over that 
grave in the bastion, and fire and sword laid the 
land desolate ; but the spirit kindled by Brock in 
the country never failed, and though his voice was 
stilled, the echo of his words remained and the 
force of his example. 

When peace came again, a grateful country 
resolved to raise to his memory a monument on 
the field where he fell, and twelve years afterwards 
a solemn procession passed again over that road by 
the river, and from far and near those who had 
served under him gathered to do him honour. A 
miscreant from the United States shattered this 
monument on April 13th, 1840, a crime that was 
execrated in that country as well as in Canada. 

In order to take immediate steps to repair the dese- 
cration. Sir George Arthur, the governor-general, 
called upon the militia of Upper Canada and the 
regular troops then in the country, to assemble on 
Queenston Heights on June 30th of that year. The 
summons was obeyed with enthusiasm, and no 
greater civil and military display had ever been held 
m Canada. The youths whom Isaac Brock had led 
were gray-headed men now, judges and statesmen, 
the foremost in the land, but they had not forgotten 
him, and once again, in eloquent words, the story 
was told of how he had won the undying love and 
respect of the people. 



A resolution was unanimously passed, that an- 
other monument, higher and nobler still, should be 
built in place of the one destroyed. No public money 
was asked, but the regular troops, officers and men, 
and the militia gave a freewill offering. In due time 
the sum of fifty thousand dollars was raised. While 
the monument was building. General Brock's body 
was placed in a private burying-ground in Mr. 
Hamilton's garden at the foot of the hill. In 1854, 
more than forty years after the battle, the column 
was finished, and once again a long procession 
followed the hero's bier. Nor was this all. In 1860 
there was a notable gathering on that historic 
hill, when King Edward VII, then Prince of 
Wales, came to do honour to the dead hero, and 
laid the topmost stone on the cairn that marks 
the spot where he fell. One hundred and sixty 
survivors of the volunteers of 1812 were present. 
Sir John Beverley Robinson was their spokesman. 
In his address to the prince he said: " In the long 
period that has elapsed very many have gone to 
their rest, who, having served in higher rank than 
ourselves, took a more conspicuous part in that 
glorious contest. We rejoice in the thought that 
what your Royal Highness has seen and will see of 
this prosperous and happy province will enable you 
to judge how valuable a possession was saved to 
the British Crown by the successful resistance made 
in the trying contest in which it was our fortune to 
bear a part, and your Royal Highness will then be 


able to judge how large a debt the empire owed 
to the lamented hero Brock, whose gallant and 
generous heart shrank not in the darkest hour of 
the conflict, and whose example inspired the few 
with the abiUty and spirit to do the work of many." 
In reply the prince said : " I have willingly con- 
sented to lay the first stone of this monument. 
Every nation may, without offence to its neigh- 
bours, commemorate its heroes, their deeds of arms, 
and their noble deaths. This is no taunting boast of 
victory, no revival of long passed animosities, but a 
noble tribute to a soldier's fame, the more honour- 
able because he readily acknowledges the bravery 
and chivalry of the people by whose hands he fell. 
I trust that Canada will never want such volunteers 
as those who fought in the last war nor her volun- 
teers be without such a leader. But no less I fer- 
vently pray that your sons and grandsons may never 
be called upon to add other laurels to those which 
you so gallantly won." 

The noble shaft on Queenston Heights dominates 
a wide expanse of land and lake. Deep and strong 
is the current of the river that flows at its base, but 
not deeper and stronger than the memory of the 
man who sleeps below. 



Abebcromby, General, 13, 14, 15, 

16, 20, 21,34, 64 
Act, uon-importation, 85 
Adams, United States brig, 178, 

Albany, 50, 192, 203, 233 
Amberstburg, Fort (Maiden), de- 
scription of, 59; 41st Regiment 
at, 74 ; assistant quartermaster- 
general stationed at, 80 ; Indians 
gather there, 152; militia at, 177 
Brock gives his attention to, 196 
Colonel Procter arrives, 216 
Brock and his squadron set out 
for, 230-2 ; the advance expected, 
235 ; first skirmish, 236 ; Brock's 
general order from, 247-8 ; an- 
other attack expected, 273-4 ; Cap- 
tain Muir returns to, 275 
Amherst, General Lord, 35, 70, 179 
Amiens, peace of, 9, 30-1, 43, 78 
Armistice, the, 233, 261, 270-2, 276 
Armstrong, General, 81 ; American 

minister in Paris, 112 
Assembly, House of, 76, 143-5, 183, 
184, 228, 229 

Baby, Colonel, 209, 229, 248 
Baton Rouge, on the Mississippi, 7, 

Baynes, Colonel, adjutant-general, 

letters to Brock, 134, 137-8, 145, 

155, 180, 185, 204, 205, 208; 
Brock writes to, 183, 185, 198; 
sent to General Dearborn with the 
proposition for an armistice, 233 

Bedard, Captain, 105 ; arrest of, 
127-9 ; release of, 145; appointed 
judge, 158 

Bowes, Colonel, 69, 73, 78 

Bonaparte, Napoleon, 6, 9, 23, 24, 
30, 38, 40, 41, 45, 71, 140, 167, 

Brock, Daniel de Lisle, 70 

Brock, Elizabeth, wife of John E. 
Tupper, 71 

Brock, Irving, 71, 102, 131, 132, 
140, 143, 162, 163 

Brock, Isaac, his birthplace, 1 ; fa- 
mily of, 5, 6 ; sent to school, 7 ; 
obtains a commission by purchase, 
7 ; purchases his lieutenancy, 8 ; 
gazetted as captain, 8 ; service in 
the West Indies, 9 ; purchases a 
majority, 10 ; becomes senior lieu- 
tenant-colonel of the 49th, 10 ; 
associated with Nelson and Stew- 
art, 24-5 ; leads the 49th, 27 ; ar- 
rives in Canada, 33 ; at York, 48, 
60-3 ; in command at Fort George, 
64 ; his report, 64-7 ; at Quebec, 
69 ; made a full colonel, 70 ; as 
commander-in-chief, 75 ; his cor- 
respondence with President Dunn, 
76, 77 ; correspondence about 
Indian affairs, 78 ; looks into 



Brock, Isaac — Continued 
accounts^ 79, 80 ; supervises the 
marine department, 80 ; in Que- 
bec, 86j 90 ; on military service, 
96; letter to Colonel Gordon, 97; 
letters to Ross Cuthbert, 98, 102; 
leaves Quebec and takes command 
in Montreal, 99 ; appointed acting 
brigadier-general, 99 ; letter to his 
brother Irving, 102 ; returns to 
Quebec, 115 ; longing for service 
in Europe, 123, 124 ; settled at 
Fort George, 183; his books, 135- 

6 ; letters, 140 ; a visit to York, 
143 ; correspondence with Sir 
James Craig, 149, 151, 152, 176 ; 
made major-general, 157 ; ap- 
pointed president and administra- 
tor of the government of Upper 
Canada, 159 ; misfortune to, 161- 

7 ; declines permission to return 
to England, 180-1 ; his measures 
in the House of Assembly, 184- 
6 ; preparations for war, 189-90 ; 
letter to Colonel Baynes, 198 ; 
general order from Niagara, 205- 
6 ; general order from Fort 
George, 212-13 ; his appeal, 219- 
21 ; his powers in his combined 
military and civil capacity, 225-7 ; 
describes Tecumseh, 247 ; general 
order from Amherstburg, 247-8 ; 
demands Hull's surrender of De- 
troit, 250-1 ; celebrates the vic- 
tory, 258 ; regrets the armistice, 
261 ; letter to his brothers, 266-8 ; 
receives congratulations from Sir 
George Prevost, 268-9 ; writes 
from Fort George, 272-3 ; letter 
re the attack on Fort Wayne, 


276-7 ; letter to Savery Brock, 
280-1 ; regiments under his im- 
mediate command, 287 ; his report 
of the loss of the Detroit and the 
Caledonia, 290-3 ; appointed a 
knight of the Order of the Bath, 
296 ; last letter to Sir George 
Prevost, 298 ; his ride to Queen- 
ston, 298-801 ; orders the evacua- 
tion of the redan battery, 303 ; 
leads the attack on the heights, 
304 ; his death, 304 ; funeral rites, 
Brock, John, father of Sir Isaac, 6 
Brock, Mary, wife of T. Potenger, 

Brock, Savery, 15, 17, 18, 19, 27, 
71, 123, 182, 161, 162, 163, 166 
Brock, William, 5, 70, 124, 161, 

163, 165, 167 
Brownstown, 237, 238, 243, 245 
Bruyeres, Lieutenant-Colonel, 157, 


Caledonia, brig, 210 ; captured by 
Americans, 289-92 

Cameron, Captain, 299, 301, 306 

Canadien, Le, newspaper, 92, 104, 
116, 127, 147 

Canning, George, secretary of war, 
81, 83, 84, 85, 118, 119, 120, 122 

Carleton, Sir Guy, see Lord Dor- 

Castlereagh, Lord, 103, 118 ; suc- 
ceeds the Marquis of Weilesley 
in office, 191 

Chambers, Captain, 218, 235; major, 

Champagny, Napoleon's secretary 
of war. 111, 172 


Chateau de Ramezay, Brock quar- 
tered at, 101 

Chateau St. Louis, 34, 46, 75, 90 

Chesapeake, the, 82-6 

Chippawa, Fort, 53, 58, 202, 310 

Constitution, American frigate, 123, 

Copenhagen, 23, 26, 30, 31, 106, 

Craig, Sir James, governor-general 
and commander-in-chief, 90-2 ; 
his first duty, 93 ; appoints Brock 
brigadier-general, 99 ; writes to 
Lord Castlereagh, 103 ; distrusts 
the French Canadians, 104 ; re- 
fers to the effect of the embargo, 
115 ; asks for reinforcements, 
118 ; prorogues the House, 127 ; 
seizes the press of Le Canadien, 
127 ; unwilling to grant Brock 
leave of absence, 136 ; ill health, 
142 ; last public act, 145 ; his 
triumph over the assembly, 145 ; 
utterly broken down, 147 ; in re- 
ference to the Indians, 149, 153 ; 
leaves Canada, 156 ; his death, 


Dean, private, 236-7, 258 
Dearborn, Fort, (Chicago), 174, 266 
Dearborn, General (United States), 

192, 233, 261, 285 
Decrees, Bayonne, 122; Berlin, 81- 

2, 93, 105, 172, 193 ; Milan, 110, 

172, 193 
Detroit, formerly the Adams, 21 4t; 

captured by the Americans, 289-92 
Detroit, Fort, 53, 54, 177, 190-1, 

195, 197, 218, 235, 238, 245 ; its 

attack and capture, 248-60 

Dorchester, Lord, (Sir Guy Carle- 
ton), 34, 36-8, 47, 53, 56, 75, 
103, 152 

Drummond, Major-General, 116, 

Dunn, Thomas, president and acting 

governor, 69, 73, 76, 77, 86, 94, 

96, 157 

Egmont op Zee, 17, 18 
Elliott, Colonel, 230, 245, 280 
Elmsley, Chief Justice, 69, 76 
Embargo, the, 85, 108 ; effect of, 

109 ; repeal of, 113 
Emulous, vessel, 224 
Erie, Fort, 63, 69, 178, 181, 206, 


FiTz Gibbon, Colonel, 18, 66, 67 
Florida, West, 42, 43, 112, 139 


Gallatin, secretary of the United 
States navy, 81, 108 

Ganges, battleship, 27 

Gazette, Upper Canada, 57 ; Quebec, 
93 ; Montreal, 93 

George, Fort, description of, 56 ; 
planned by Simcoe, 58 ; Procter 
commands at, 74 ; boats kept at, 
80 ; Brock winters at, 153 ; maga- 
zines prepared at, 182 ; Brock's 
headquarters, 204 ; counter ap- 
peal issued from, 217; another 
proclamation from, 219; Myers 
in charge of affairs at, 225 ; pri- 
soners at, 263-4 ; Brock buried 
there, 313 

Glegg, Captain, A.D.C., 204, 207, 
232, 261, 255, 259, 271, 302 



Glengarry P'eucibles, proposed, 97- 
8 ; the corps raised, 180 ; Brock 
proposes giving grants of land to 
members of, 185 ; part of the force 
for the defence of the frontier, 

Gore, Sir Francis, lieutenant-gov- 
ernor of Upper Canada, 8, 78, 97, 
138, 159, 167-8 

Guerriere, H.M.S., 173, 284 


Harrison, General, (" Old Tippe- 
canoe"), 175-6 

Henry, John, agent on secret mis- 
sion, 120, 186-8 

Hull, General, marches for Michi- 
gan, 203 ; his advance, 208-9 ; oc- 
cupies Sandwich, 213 ; his procla- 
mation to the people of Canada, 
213-14 ; loses heavy baggage and 
stores, 218 ; writes to Washing- 
ton, 236 ; abandons Sandwich for 
Detroit, 238 ; receives and refuses 
Brock's demand to surrender, 
251 ; surrenders, 255 ; criticized, 
257 ; as prisoner of war, 261 ; 
home on parole, 283 ; trial and 
sentence, 283-4 

Humphrey, Captain of the Leopard, 

Hunter, sloop of war, 178, 217,218, 
243, 249 

Hunter, General, lieutenant-gover- 
nor of Upper C-anada, 45, 50, 51, 
69, 60, 63, 65, 69 

Jefferson, President, 38, 41, 43, 
108, 112, 113, 259, 285 



Kempt, Colonel, afterwards Gene- 
ral Sir James, 140-1 

Kingston, 56, 65, 178-9, 203, 229, 


Leopard, the, 82-3 

Lewiston, 285, 299, 800, 303, 309, 

Little Belt, a corvette, 173 
Louisiana, handed back to France, 

38 ; its purchase, 41-3 
Lovett, John, secretary to General 

Van Rensselaer, 264, 286 


Macdonell, Lieutenant-Colonel, 
chosen as aide-de-camp, 230 ; sent 
with the demand for the sur- 
render of Detroit, 251 ; goes back 
to Detroit to arrange the terms 
of capitulation, 255 ; at Vroo- 
man's Point, 301-2 ; at the battle 
of Queenston Heights, 305-6. 

Mc Arthur, Colonel, United States, 
203, 249 

Madison, President, 120, 139, 173, 
187, 213 

Maguaga, 238-43, 245 

Maiden, Fort, see Amherstburg. 

Michilimackinac, Fort, 53, 177, 
205, 210-11, 227-8 


Napoleon, Emperor, 71, 72, 73, 81, 
82, 98, 105, 106-8, 111-13, 117- 
19, 125-6, 172, 188 

Nelson, Lord, 24-30, 47 

Niagara (Newark), 60 ; invasion ex- 
pected between Fort Erie and, 
178 ; Brock gives his attention to, 


Niagara (Newark) — Continued 
195 ; general order from, 205 ; 
well fortified, 225 

Niagara, Fort(U.S), 54-6 ; its attack 
suggested, 219 ; stores and troops 
arriving, 269, 274 ; silenced, 309 

Nichol, Lieutenant-Colonel, 206, 
207, 248, 253 

Non-Intercourse, Bill, 120 


Obdebs-in-Council, 93, 106, 111 ; 
withdrawal of, 120-1, 223, 269 


Panet, Lieutenant -Colonel, 
speaker of the assembly, 104, 
105, 115 

President, United States frigate, 173 

Prevost, Sir George, arrives in 
Halifax, 101 ; assumes command, 
157-8 ; letter from Brock to, 178- 
9 ; hampered by home instruc- 
tions, 184 ; cautious and forbear- 
ing, 190, 194-5, 216, 288, 204 ; 
receives word of declaration of 
war, 207-8 ; despatch from Brock 
to, 223 ; correspondence re Brock's 
powers, 226-7 ; his views concern- 
ing the capture of Fort Michili- 
mackinac, 227-8 ; congratulates 
Brock, 268-9 ; advises evacuation 
of Detroit, 277 

Procter, Lieutenant-Colonel, com- 
mands at Fort George, 74 ; to as- 
sume command between Niagara 
and Fort Erie, 205-6 ; sent to 
Araherstburg, 216 ; sends a de- 
tachment to Brownstown, 237 ; in 
charge of the western district, 
247 ; in command at Detroit, 262 ; 

letter from Brock to, 293 ; com- 
pared with Brock, 312 


Quebec, description of, 33-4 ; centre 
of society, 46 ; mutineers and de- 
serters sentenced at, 63 ; Brock 
quartered at, 69 ; 49th and 100th 
Regiments there, 74 ; fortifications 
of, 75-7, 94 ; boats at, 80 ; old, 
89-98 ; gaiety in, 132 ; House of 
Assembly at, 143-5 ; the town 
militia volunteers, 205 

Queenston, 58, 61, 206 ; battle of 
Queenston Heights, 298-312 

RiDOUT, Subveyob-Genebal, letter 

from, 168 
Roberts, Captain, 202, 205, 210, 227 
Robinson, Lieutenant, afterwards 

Sir John Beverley, 298, 299(note), 

302, 305, 314 
Rolette, Lieutenant, 218, 243, 292 
Rotteuburg, Colonel Baron de, 123, 

134, 137, 217 
Ryland, H. \Y., secretary, 47, 86, 

92, 105, 120, 129, 145-7, 186, 203 

Sacketts Habboub, 178, 261, 269, 

270, 271 
Sandwich, 50, 213, 218, 229, 238, 

248, 250, 251 
Saumarez, Admiral Lord de, 6, 124 
Sheaflfe, Lieutenant-Colonel, at Eg- 

mont op Zee, 19 ; in command in 

Jersey, 22 ; at Fort George, 48 ; 

mutiny under, 61-4 ; in Quebec, 

74 ; a hint from Thornton, 159 ; 

major-general on the staff, 223 ; 

at Queenston Heights, 309-12 



St. George, Colonel, 214, 216, 218, Wayne, Fort, a base of supplies for 

2.36 24-7 the United States army, 262 ; 

St. Joseph, Fort, 74, 202, 204, 210, unsuccessful expedition against, 

227 274-5 

T William Henry, Fort, 80, 283 

Tecumseh, Indian chief, 150-1, 174- Wyndham, Rt. Hon. SirW. , secre- 

6, 237-8, 243, 245-7, 251, 254, 257 tary of the colonies, 75 

Van Rensselaer, Major-General, 

384, 285, 288 
Van Rensselaer, Colonel, 284 (note), 

Vincent, Colonel, 124, 134, 229 
Vesey, Colonel, 138-9, 153-4 ; made 

major-general, 157 
Wadsworth, Brigadier-General, 



York, Duke of, 13, 15, 16, 20-1, 
64, 70, 155, 159 

York (Toronto), 45, 51 ; seat of gov- 
ernment, 57 ; number of vessels 
at, 80 ; its fortifications begun, 
182 ; House of Assembly opened 
at, 183 ; news of declaration of 
war reaches Brock at, 204 ; Brock 
returns to, 221-3 





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